On Party Tricks

I have no party tricks, unless you count magically disappearing into the kitchen.

In the NYE parties of my childhood, I remember that there would be an inevitable acoustic guitar and then cousins, aunts, and inevitably my mother would all start singing some terrible traditional favorite. To say they “harmonized” would be to stretch that word so far as to make it lose all meaning.

They made song-like noises in approximate time to the chords of the guitar.

Other than that, I can remember no one having an actual party trick. Which makes a (hopefully true) story about a Victorian party trick especially interesting.

Of course, Victorian parties were very different from drunken NE England NYE parties…I would presume.

I imagine pianos and solo singers who actually had met and made friends with a tune or two.

But, apparently, there was a guy. He would stand in front of a fireplace, with his back to the fire. Then, from a crouch, he would leap backward onto the mantle. To, I hope, a tremendous round of applause. As long as someone had remembered to clear the mantle of clocks and nicknacks beforehand.

On hearing this story, my first reaction was, Wow, impressive. Then, soon after, a more considered thought: How did he first know that he could do that?

One does not just know, surely, that one can carry off such a feat. And it’s not, to my knowledge, something that people just tended to do at parties. So, I guess I have two questions: How did he first know he could do that? And why did he do that at all?

More research is clearly required.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.