Magic, Medicine & Bridge
Dr. Morris’ favorite types of magic involve card tricks, as well as the cut-and-restored rope trick, in which a rope is cut in two pieces, tied in a knot and then—abracadabra—perfectly restored.
He demonstrates his magic in front of other magicians at local IBM clubs, where fellow magicians test, learn and share new tricks. But Dr. Morris applies magic in other areas as well. A former Sunday School teacher, Dr. Morris found a clever way to incorporate magic into his lessons.
“When getting ready to teach kids reconciliation, which is when they go into confession, I would take black handkerchiefs that signified their sins and put them in a bag,” he says. “Then I’d say, ‘After confession, when you’re forgiven by God, here’s what happens.’ I’d pull out a white handkerchief and show them the black ones were gone.”
Magic has other purposes, too. It’s great for breaking the ice between people at ACR meetings, he says, or during uncomfortable or difficult situations.
Meanwhile, Dr. Morris practices tricks several times a month to avoid sleight of hand mistakes. He also spends several hours each night the week before IBM meetings practicing tricks he plans on sharing.
Dr. Morris believes there’s a clear relationship between medicine and magic, and he says his third hobby has a strong connection to both. He plays contract bridge, a card game he learned as a child while on family vacations.
“Every hand is a different puzzle,” he says. His wife, Jane, has been his bridge partner for decades, and they play in roughly a dozen tournaments each year. “For 25 years, I’ve also been the prize desk chairman at the Gatlinburg Regional Bridge Tournament, handing out small event prizes, such as a $2 bill or flashlight, to players.”
He says one common factor between bridge, medicine and magic is observation—a skill necessary to correctly diagnose patients, figure out how a trick is performed and know what cards to play at what time.
Advice to Colleagues
“You need to have a fun, outside activity with normal, everyday people who think TNF is a new internet abbreviation,” Dr. Morris says. “Magic is fun and makes everybody feel like a kid again.”