When I was a child my father worked as a magician (legitimate profession for Hungarians), and right before the finale of each trick, he would always say the “magic” word, “Abracadabra.”

One day, while waiting for him back stage, I suggested that he try a different word instead of “Abracadabra,” because I felt that using that particular word, had become stale and cliche, especially today.

“I don’t know any other magic words, my father replied.”

“Abracadabra,” is not a magic word, I corrected; I knew how my father did all of his “magic” tricks.”

“Well, of course it is, he laughed.”

“Abracadabra, I said out loud, “You see, nothing happened, I said.” 

You don’t know in what context the word “Abracadabra,” is used for, otherwise you would have seen the magic when you said the word. 

“What does that mean, I said, I guess my father was a brilliant man because nobody could ever understand what the hell he was talking about.”

“Abracadabra,” is a magic word, but what makes Abracadabra magic is that it answers a question, and you don’t know what the question is, so the answer is meaningless, When you have the question, then you’ll see the magic.

“Okay, so tell me the question, I asked him.”

“If I just tell you the question (which is really the answer), you’ll never see the magic, he said.” I don’t want you to use the word, “Abracadabra,” he said,  that’s to abstract, let’s use another word, how about, “Purple, he said.”

“Purple as in the color, I confirmed.” 

“Exactly, my father said, now if “Purple,” is the answer what’s the question, he asked.”

“What equals red plus blue, I said.”

“Great, you just saw the magic, by using the answer “Purple,” now give me the question for “Abracadabra,” he replied.


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