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Some props can't be repaired...
- January, 1999

All right, let me set this straight off the top - I am not a sentimentalist. I am not a soft touch, a teddy bear, or a sensitive new-age guy. I did not cry after seeing Titanic (in fact what I really wanted was to force James Cameron to watch me masturbate for three hours, instead of the other way around).

 A dove in it's natural habitat
A dove in it's natural habitat - my hallway
But in January of 1999 my birdie died, and it made me really sad.

People often ask me, "Did you always want to be a magician?" To quote George Carlin, "Not directly from the womb, no, but soon after that." I've been doing magic since I was a precocious wee lad. When I chose to become a professional I was told that magicians performing at children's birthday parties need a hook, and everybody loves animals.

Doves are perfect for magic. They're beautiful, they don't eat much, they're not very bright, and when they're enclosed in darkness, they don't make any noise. And so our hero, at the young age of 14, bought himself a pair of doves.

It was a trial with my Mom - she was torn between wanting her son to actually earn money with this fershlugginer hobby, and not wanting animals in the house. Money won out - I had a pair of doves, named Sampson and Delilah (okay, okay, I know - but gimme a break, I was fourteen).

Flash forward ten years. Sampson and Delilah were excellent pets and fine props. They learned a handful of simple tricks and were a keystone part of my nightclub act. Through my years as a children's party magician they endured endless high-pitched screams and petting from grubby fingers. They had been in both my high school and my university graduation photos. Unfortunately some years ago Delilah has taken a bad fall and broke her wing; after that she never really flew again. In 1994, some five years later, the site of the break developed bone cancer. I tried surgery but operating is always touch and go on birds, and she died later that year.

A menacing 75 grams of attack dove 
Underneath those fluffy feathers is a solid 75 grams
of trained attack dove


Having been mated with Delilah for ten years, the vet warned me that Sampson might just stop eating. Luckily, I was unemployed at the time (and how often do you get to say that?), so I spent a lot of time at home with him and he turned out just fine. I stopped using him in shows and he was encouraged to live out his twilight years in relative peace. He travelled with me to Georgia Renfest the first year I performed there, and was in general a happy little powder puff.

But while dragons last forever, not so little doves. At age 15 (real darn old for a dove) Sam developed a huge xanthoma (in layman's terms, "a big ol' belly-growth"). I tried surgery again and while he survived the operation, he couldn't make it through the recovery. On January 7th, 1999 I came home to find only a sad, stiff little pile of feathers at the bottom of the cage.

So this page is for Sampson and Delilah, as good a pair of doves as any young magician could ever hope to have. If you'd like, the next time you see a dove, smile and think of a young boy with his birds. And if you don't want to do that, just don't send me any damn copies of "The Rainbow Bridge". Okay?

Of course, a magician needs animals, so I did buy some new ones...not doves, but that's another story...

     signed, Zoltan the Adequate

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