Whenever I see a magic trick, I’m never content to just simply enjoy it; I have to know how it works so I can re-create it on my own. I’m also really, really bad at sitting still: I can never just watch a movie; I always have to be doing something with my hands. This is how I learned how to knit (badly), play Tetris (excellently), and annoy my friends every time we watch Mad Men together (“Wait, who’s that guy? And why do we hate him? Did I miss any great Peggy scenes?”). In other words, I am always willfully distracted. This is both my curse and my gift.
By now, I have mastered many skills that have no almost zero practical value, but which look real cool. I said almost no practical value, because these types of skills are GREAT for exactly one thing: impressing your friends at parties. Today, I’ll teach you some of these tricks. When your friends are like, “How did you DO that?!” tell them the truth: that you’re a gifted sorceress.
1. Rolling a Coin Down Your Knuckles
This is a really simple and portable trick. You can do it in front of a whole room of onlookers, or while casually leaning against a wall like the bad apple in an old movie, while holding a conversation, like, “Oh, this? No big deal. This is just what I use my knuckles for when I’m not STARTING FISTFIGHTS WITH A RIVAL MOTORCYCLE GANG.” (Note: Rookie does not endorse starting fistfights with any motorcycle gangs, rival or otherwise.)
2. Knotting a Cherry Stem With Your Tongue
This is a trick that is often associated with flirtiness or sexiness, a reputation that was cemented when the seductress Audrey Horne did it to land a job at a brothel in Twin Peaks:
It never feels like that to me, not in real life anyway. It feels more like I’m a cow chewing her cud. Still, it’s a neat little trick, and pretty simple to do. Here’s how:
- Find a cherry with a long stem (the longer, the better).
- Eat the cherry, unless you aren’t terribly hungry or don’t like cherries for some reason, in which case just throw it into the nearest bowl of communal fruit salad.
- Put the stem in your mouth. Chew on it a little bit to make it malleable, but not so much that it gets all mushy.
- Bend the stem over the tip of your tongue. It should look like it’s splitting your tongue it in half, lengthwise. (You might have to get an assist from your hands the first few times you do this, but eventually you wanna get to where you can do the whole thing with your mouth closed.)
- Position the stem between your front teeth, pull your tongue back to get it out of the way, and bite down gently on the stem to hold it in place. You should now have a little loop in the front of your mouth, with the majority of the stem—two long tails—back behind your teeth. Use your teeth and tongue to cross the tails into an X.
- This is the tricky part: When the tails are in this X shape, one of them is lying on top of the other, right? Use the tip of your tongue to push the end of that tail under the other tail and then thread it into your loop. (It helps if you can get the loop to turn sideways, toward the tail you’re about to thread through it. This takes some tooth/jaw machinations and some practice. It’s a good step to practice while watching TV [ideally Twin Peaks].)
- As you’re pulling the knot out of your mouth, hold one end between your front teeth and gently tug the other end to tighten your knot.
- Spit it out and show it off!
3. Making a Balloon Animal
This one’s good for when you’re hanging out with a younger crowd, like when your parents stick you at the kids’ table at a family get-together, or when you’re babysitting. In my experience, seven-year-olds don’t have much to say when you ask them what they think of Broad City. Learn to make a dog out of a balloon, however, and you will be a GOD to them.
4. Solving a Rubik’s Cube
You know what type of people know how to solve Rubik’s Cubes? Unconventional geniuses who play by their own rules. Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness. Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man. Noi from Noi the Albino, an independent Icelandic movie I saw about an unconventional genius in Iceland who plays by his own rules. Do you not want to get into this company? Do you not want to stroll into a room wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket, pick up one of these babies, give it a few twists and turns until it’s solved, and then silently strut outta there, leaving everybody to ask, “Who is that unconventional genius that plays by her own rules?”
Try to get your hands on a real Rubik’s Cube—a lot of the cheaper ones get stuck easy and are hard to maneuver. (The real ones aren’t hard to find—check out toy stores, vintage stores, yard sales, your grandfather’s basement. I like to imagine literally every single person who was alive in the ’80s had one of these.) There’s no simple trick to solving the puzzle—the solution is based on a series of algorithms that you need to learn and practice cracking. And when you first look at the steps necessary to solve it, they look like a lot of gibberish. However, when you follow those steps methodically, you’ll start to recognize recurring patterns that will help you figure out how to get the squares where they need to go. Check it:
The final step to each and every one of these tricks is TAKING A BOW to THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE from your audience. Congratulations: You are now the undisputed champion of parties! ♦