Salvage Yard: Twixter

The phrase "this trick is worse than a botched back-alley abortion" gets thrown around a lot these days. But in this case... well... take a look...

It would be easy for me to say that the idea behind the trick is boneheaded. But that would be a lie because it would imply there's some idea behind the trick. The effect is wholly arbitrary. Usually you want a trick to address some kind of idea or concept that is almost primal in humans. Something we all can relate to. What if I could produce money from nowhere? What if I could make things I didn't like disappear? This effect answers the age-old question, "Does anyone have an idea of what we can do with all these fake Twix bars we have?"

It would also be easy for me to criticize his sleight of hand... because it sucks. It looks like he just learned the slip-force during the introduction to the video itself. And his palm and "color change" look like... I can't even describe it. This is the best take they had? And this is the stuff they kept, you can tell some of the sleights were edited out. If I had a scoop of mashed potatoes in my hand and held my hand over your plate and dropped the mashed potatoes on there, you wouldn't be like, "Where did those potatoes come from?" That's kind of what his sleight-of-hand looks like: someone palming mashed potatoes.

But I won't make fun of him for that, because not being good at sleight of hand is actually a good sign in my book. I mean, it's not what I want from the people I buy tricks from, but just in humans generally, if I have to drive cross-country with someone, give me the person who didn't waste most of his youth learning sleight of hand.

It would also be easy for me to draw your attention to those poor spectators. People who are just a few morse-code blinks away from me believing they are being held at gunpoint to watch this trick. It is almost impossible to get reactions that muted when there's a camera on. I've talked about how inaccurate demo videos are in the past. But usually they're used to make a decent trick look like it's mindblowingIn this case, the trick is so weak that even with the camera there, their responses are painfully indifferent. Like a parent who is focusing 98% of their attention on the newspaper they're trying to read, but still reacting to their kid doing some half-assed somersault for the 50th time. "Yeah. Sure sweetie. That's great."

All of that would be easy for me to do. So easy, in fact, that I could do it while telling you how I'm not going to do it. 

But I don't just want to criticize the guy behind this trick. So he had a bad idea and ran with it... that's alright. I'll take that over someone with a good idea who sits on their ass all day, never doing anything.

Instead, I'm going to try and salvage this turd. (To start, the trick might be better if you said, "I carry around two turds up my sleeve.")

When I see something that I think is particularly not good, I try and come up with some sort of context I might perform it in. I don't know if I've succeeded with this, but I gave it a shot. It's a good exercise to challenge your creativity if nothing else. 

The big question with this trick is Why?

Why do you have candy bars up your sleeves?

Why does the card disappear?

Why does the name of the card appear on the candy bar?

Why would you think anyone would want to play a game for a candy bar you had up your fucking sleeve?

Nobody knows. The only answer is, "Well, that's how the trick goes." 

Here is how I would perform this trick. Like, if someone had abducted someone I care about and they said I had to perform this trick if I ever wanted to see them again.

I'd approach the table and with perfect elocution and with that cocky fake-magician personality I'd day, "Good evening, everyone. My name is Andy the Magnificent. And I am here tonight to dazzle the eyes, and tickle the mind."

As everyone is thinking, Oh, this is gonna suck. I'd pull up a chair. 

"How does that sound?" I'd ask. "Do you like magic twicks?"

I'd then suddenly deflate. I'd drop all pretense and start acting like a real human for a moment. I'd let out a long sigh.

"Oh wow. I haven't said that in forever. Wow.... Hey, sorry. I'll get back to all that in a second. Can I tell you guys something? You seem like good people. I feel I can open up to you." 

I wouldn't say what follows as a joke, per se. But there's a way to speak with such sincerity about something stupid, that it's obvious your goofing around. That's how I would deliver the following monologue.

"I used to have a pretty bad speech impediment. I've worked really hard to lose it but it still creeps up from time to time. Saying twicks instead of tricks brings up a painful memory."

"You see, this one time, in fourth grade I was trying to impress this girl I liked, Tracy Connelly, with a magic trick. I had practiced for weeks. I was a shy kid because of my speech impediment, but I was determined to make my move on her."

"So one day I worked up the nerve and asked her if I could show her some magic. I did the the tw—the TRick—for her and she was really impressed. I remember her clapping her little hands together in delight. A bunch of other kids from school had gathered around and they were pretty impressed too. I wanted to say something charming so I leaned in and said, 'Just let me know if you'd like to see something else sometime. I have a lot of twicks up my sleeve.' And with that, the spell was broken, everyone just started laughing and pointing and I had to run home to keep from crying."

"But I had a plan to salvage things."

"The next day I came to school and Brian Couch said, 'Hey Andy, still got those twicks up your sleeve?' And everyone started laughing again. But I played it cool. I was just like. 'Yeah, of course I have them up my sleeve. I always do. That's my thing. You didn't know that?' And with that I pulled up my sleeves and showed them two Twix candy bars up my sleeves.  And then I turned the tables on Brian. I was like, 'Oh, did you think I mispronounced something? Oh my god. You're an idiot. Putting Twix up your sleeves is something my brother in college says everyone is doing. All the cool people at least.'"

"But to keep the ruse up, and to make sure I'd have something to fall back on if I made the mistake again, I had to keep Twix candy bars up my sleeves throughout the rest of my schooling. Up through high school and on through college. Even today I still have them there."

I roll up my sleeves and show the Twix bars. My forearms have gross smears of chocolate on them, and are tinted brown underneath from years of sleeved Twix bars.

"I actually came up with a trick to do with them, to help justify why I had them on me, want to see it?"

I would then force the two of hearts on someone. But a good force. Not like the one in the video. 

I would take the two and place it on the deck. I'd do an Erdnase color change for a blank card with a chocolate-y brown smear mark on it. "Damn," I'd say. "I was trying to make your card and the Twix bar change places. But I don't think I got all of it. Just the 2 and the hearts on your cards switched places with some of the chocolate from the Twix. No... for real." I'd then pick up the Twix, look it over, then notice where the 2 of Hearts was on the bottom. 


I mean... ta-daa!

"That's actually the trick I performed for that girl Tracy on the night I proposed to her many years later, and we're now happily married. Want to see a picture of her?"

When they say yes, I would reach into my pocket and pull out a picture that is covered in smeared, dried chocolate, to the point where you can't even make out what it's supposed to be. 

"Yes. She's my soulmate," I'd say.

Then I'd turn the photo over and on the back, written in pen, it would say:


"I also have a writing impediment."

It's still not a good trick, of course. But with a solid force it could maybe be a fooling one. And my presentation is about making the whole thing much dumber. This is a dumb trick. But he performs it almost as if it's not dumb. He performs it as if making a cad appear on the bottom of a Twix is cool or logical. You can't do that. Your only chance of getting away with performing a stupid trick is to make it much, much stupider.