Tonight, I overnighted a bag of marbles to Pennsylvania. Why? Well, it’s a rather personal story, but it’s one that I feel like I need to tell. At some point when I was learning stage hypnotism I ran across a website called More Money With Magic, created by a magician named Eric Paul. Eric’s fundamental belief is that as performers, we should do what we love, make a tremendous difference to our audience — providing great value, and make money. He has dedicated a significant amount of time to helping entertainers — mostly magicians, but also hypnotists, jugglers, clowns and so forth to do just that. I really like Eric’s style from the beginning, and greatly enjoyed following his e-mails, postings and product releases; as well as the many videos that were often included.
So what does that have to do with marbles? Hold on, I’m getting there. Eric is a young man, I don’t know his exact age, but he’s probably in his 30s. Knowing that, you can imagine my surprise and horror to read a few months ago in an e-mail that he sent out to his list that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, despite having never smoked. He was admitted to the hospital with great difficulty breathing, and was set up for chemotherapy treatment. Eric was incredibly positive through all of this, confident in his ability to beat it, he has so much to live for — a business he loves, children that he loves more than anything else in the world, a deep religious faith that works incredibly well for him, so many people that he loves and is close to — but even with all of that in his favor, the cancer did not respond to treatment.
Of course, that didn’t stop Eric — he did stop performing, because he just couldn’t get enough air to keep his energy up and sustain his stage presence at a level that he could live with — but he put the time that he gained by not performing and hoping even more people with their own careers, and spending as much time as possible with his kids. Eric mentioned in a couple of e-mails to his list how determined he was to have a great Christmas with his kids, and they did, by all accounts. Then, on Saturday, having gotten through Christmas, Eric was admitted to the hospital for what everyone feels will be the last time.
On Sunday he recorded a video from his hospital bed which he posted on Facebook, as I watched it I could see how much energy it took him. The thing that still amazes me, he spent almost all of the video delivering content that he thought would be helpful to us — reinforcements of the key points of his work, the tenants on which he built his business. To have fun, deliver extraordinary value and service, and make money in that order. And also to find ways to deliver more than your clients could ever expect, he talked about constantly asking himself how he could deliver extra value every time he spoke to a client. At the very end of the video, he told us that he was in tremendous pain, and said he would be in the hospital until he passes, but not to worry because he’s okay and knows where he’s going when he’s called home.
I don’t know why I feel so connected to Eric, I’ve never met him in person, or spoken to him on the phone. We’ve exchanged a number of e-mails since his diagnosis, mostly from me offering support and some observations on things he said, and some discussion between us. But that, and his websites and list is really the only contact I’ve had with him. Yet, I find myself extremely, deeply emotional, sad and moved by the whole experience. As I write these words, I’m almost crying sitting at my computer.
When I saw that video but Eric posted yesterday, I felt like I needed to do something. So, I thought about what to do. The natural things seemed to be to send flowers, but I’m confident that lots of people have done, and that Eric is surrounded with flowers, and it didn’t feel like the right thing anyway. Then I remembered the marbles. A number of years ago, my mother had her knee replaced. The recovery, particularly in the first few days after the surgery when she was in the hospital was extremely difficult — from talking to my dad, it was clear that mom had lost her marbles, at least temporarily. So when I went to visit her, I did the natural thing (at least to me,) and brought her a bag of marbles. She loves them, it tickled her funny bone in the way he knew it would. It occurred to me, that that was what I needed to do for Eric — to send the marbles. So tonight, I picked up a bag of beautiful blue marbles and a card with a picture of an ostrich’s head — mouth wide open — saying “feed me chocolate.” I wrote to Eric, explaining that the marbles for spares, in case he lost his; and telling him how much have been touched by his work and his life, and how I see him as a role model for the kind of person that I choose to be in what I do. So, this card and marbles I went off to FedEx where I was helped by a lovely woman named Sylvia who will make sure that the package gets out on the right flight tonight.
When I left FedEx, my heart felt lighter, knowing that I had done what I could do. But then I realized that there was one more thing I had to, and that was, difficult though it may be, to share this story with you.
If you want to learn more about Eric, check out his websites:
He’s blogging about his situation at:
other sites include