Los Angeles, USA

Hard Times

I picked a bad time to try and go back to being a full-time professional magician. Pretty much everyone in live entertainment is out of work now.

Back in January I quit my job. It was the worst place I had ever worked. It was something I needed to do, as they were extremely abusive there. My goal was to transition to performing full time, but as January and February are usually slower months for performers, I decided to pick up a short term consulting gig (as it turns out, those two month kept me very busy with shows and I had to turn down a number of weekday gigs). A couple of weeks after I quit, I wound up at Cedars-Sinai, one of the top ten hospitals in the country. At the time, I had no idea what awaited us. Now I am hoping they keep me for as long as they can.

I am now somewhat on the front-lines of this crises, trying to make a difference at Cedars. Well, not actually at Cedars, as I am working at home. Fortunately, both Geoff and I have well-equipped home offices.

As part of this job, I am kept apprised of what is going on. Much of that I can not talk about due to privacy and HIPA, but there are a few things I can say. This is a real crises. You have to take it seriously. Here in Los Angeles we are in lock down. It is very important that you follow the guidelines from the CDC, and listen to the World Health Organization to get the latest scientific information. Science can save us here, but we have to listen to the science.

The constant hand washing thing is a little annoying, but important. When we have to go out and get needed supplies, we wipe them all down with anti-bacterial wipes. We wipe the doorknob inside and out when we get home, and immediately wash our hands. This virus can remain contagious on surfaces for up to four hours, and in some cases even longer. If you might touch a surface someone else might have touched, wipe it.

All of the medical advice is important, but right now, when we are urged to just stay home and many of us can’t work, it is also important to focus on our mental health as well. Reach out to friends on the phone. Actually talk to people instead of just texting.

Many families are basically stuck in the house together. That has certainly been true here in Los Angeles, where it seems like it has been pouring rain since we got the stay at home instructions. When you live in L.A., part of what you are paying for is the near constant sunshine. It is not like places where you can get snowed in. We are just not used to being isolated in our homes.

This can lead to some friction between family members, especially as most of us are reasonably scared. This is one of those historical moments in history where the future is frighteningly uncertain. What is important is to remember to be good to each other. Tempers will flare, but try to be quick to calm down and quick to forgive. We can get through this and to the other side, but we need to do it together.

You also have to do things that are comforting. I have been watching some of the Hallmark Christmas movies, and we got Disney+ so I can get caught up on kids movies. I think it is important as a kid show performer to be aware of popular culture that appeals to children.

I also feel it is important to keep looking to the future. I had been doing so many shows, I had little time for developing new material, doing the writing I wanted to do, and developing grand schemes for the future. With performing and my consulting gig I was basically working seven days a week. Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I am going to use it to get prepared for when we can all get back to work.

Our book, The Greatest Adventure, is available as an eBook, and we are awaiting a proof copy of the printed version to do final error checking. Geoff has actually finished two other books, and is a fourth of the way through his novel, but we will not be making a promotional push for anything until people are back to work and the crises has subsided. I think working on things now that are forward looking is important.

It is so hard not to be able to spend time with the people we care about. This crises will test all of us.

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