At his Nov. 17 performance at the Veterans Memorial Elementary School in Union City, Magician Micky Magic excited his young charges with the usual magician’s trick: the handkerchief he suddenly made appear from a participant’s sleeve; his trademark of pouring water into a newspaper atop a teacher’s head, and making the liquid disappear.
But there was a new trick he debuted before the kids that day. “I don’t smoke, but if I go like this, I can make a cigarette appear,” he told the students in the school’s gymnasium, before suddenly producing one, lighting it, and throwing it into the air. It disintegrated in a fiery flash.
The trick was meant to mark the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout Event, taking place on the third Thursday of November each year. Events around the day are meant to inspire people to encourage a loved one to plan to quit smoking for good. Not only is Micky Magic, who lives in Union City, a former smoker, he’s also an ACA-certified smoking cessation counselor
“Cigarettes are horrible,” he told the kids. “They smell nasty, they cost a lot of money, they do so much damage to you. Eventually your teeth get yellow. When you get old, your teeth fall off.”
Asking the kids to pledge to never smoke, Magic—who grew up in the Bronx—also helped them craft a plan to get their loved ones to stop smoking.
“I want you guys to go to the internet,” he told the kids. Specifically mentioning the Centers for Disease Control website, Magic told the young ones to print out fact sheets, “Go to that family member and say, ‘I love you. I don’t want you to die. I don’t mean to disrespect you. But please review this.’ ”
After the show, Magic, who regularly performs at Union City public schools, said he often focuses his shows on healthy lifestyle themes, such as encouraging recycling and eating well.
“If you instruct the kids on the importance of preventing things at an early age, they learn good habits, and not do things that are not beneficial to their health,” said Jerlena Joza, the parent liaison for Veterans’ Memorial, who helped organize the show and called Magic to perform after he did so last year.
“We enjoyed it a lot,” she added. “I like to bring the parents to see the show every year and become part of the events. I like to promote involvement; it creates a good environment for the school.”
Hannington Dia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org