By Adam Patel
In hind sight I was stupid. I should have known better. Chelsea, St John’s Wood or Peckham – it doesn’t matter anymore. If you give them an opportunity, they’ll take it. And they had. Which left me standing on the street opposite The American School in St John’s Wood, the allegedly upmarket and crime free microcosm of London, with half of my driver’s side window on the road in tiny pieces.
At half past midnight when I had arrived, emptying all my equipment from the car had seemed like just a little too much trouble given that parking close to the flat is near impossible if you arrive at that time and it would be 3 or 4 trips all the way to the top floor of the block. But of course, now I wish I’d done it.
So instead of all the things I’d planned to do today, I had a morning of waiting around and witness statements.
In the real world, calling the police for a crime like this I knew to be relatively useless and largely a waste of time. After making the call you have to wait for them to arrive which is frankly no different than waiting for a plumber or the Amazon man to come. It’s not an emergency so there are no blue lights and they fall victim to the congested London road system the same as anybody else. They come and take a statement and call their forensics unit who never finds anything because the thief wore gloves. But you need the crime reference number in order to make the insurance claim.
So that’s what lead me to having to explain to a police officer what had been stolen from my car were some of my magic props. Nothing of any great value but all the same it lead to me having to explain that I’m a magician. The reactions to this information vary from shock and awe the likes of which only gods enjoy to what I got today: job jokes.
I am of course by now used to the experience. And I guess one of the things that attracted me to doing this job was the unwritten promise that there will never be a dull moment. It leads to some quite odd and unusual situations.
Like going into Tesco to get some photographs of David Cameron and Osama Bin Laden printed out and thinking twice about asking how the machine works because you know the lady behind the counter is judging you, thinking, “What on Earth is he up to?” when she sees Bin Laden’s face on the screen.
Like staying in a hotel in Birmingham and getting off the lift at the wrong floor, so the manager says, “It would have been like your room had disappeared.”
Like meeting with your bank manager and explaining to him that you’re making a television show only to have him challenge himself to pack as many magic & film-making one-liners into the conversation as possible, finishing triumphantly with, “And I believe that, as they say, is a wrap!”
“No mate. It’s just a bad joke,” I thought as I smiled vaguely at him.
Which brings us to today when the police officer explains what’s been stolen down the radio, “Magician equipment” to which the guy on the other end of the radio responds, “Are the rabbits okay?”
It sounded like a line out of a Holby City script.
I said nothing but my face said it all. Seriously!? I am always surprised that so many people still associate magic with rabbits. Producing rabbits from hats is quite unusual nowadays.
The officer turned away and walked a few paces before saying, “Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that last bit.”
“Never mind. It was just a joke.”
The officer took my statement and called forensics, who came and brushed powder all over the car to try and get a finger print.
He worked quietly while the radio was going, “Did we get a result on that? Can we confirm it was acid that went in his eye?”
“Good Lord!” I’m thinking, “The things these guys must see every day!”
“Better call AC-12!” I blurted out, making a reference to BBC’s Line of Duty. (If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it!)
Instead of the chuckle I was expecting, he gave me a look of complete exasperation.
I don’t know what he was so upset about. I thought it was funny.
What profession are you in and what are the jokes you’re sick of hearing? Comment below 🙂