Personality+: Jay Garrett Making Magic

July 31, 2009

4 Min Read
Personality+: Jay Garrett  Making Magic

By Cara Sievers

When Jay Garrett, field engineer for Nortel distributor Voice Data Systems LLC (VDS), got a call from his daughter, Kaycee, about her upcoming wedding, little did he know that it would be a magical experience.

Voice Data Systems’ Jay Garrett

Kaycee informed her father that she would be getting married by a justice of the peace, to which Jay expressed disappointment about not being able to wear a top hat and tails. Kaycee said his attire of choice would be fine. You see, she planned to be married on Halloween with masquerade party reception. Jay, she said, could come as a magician.

A few weeks before the wedding, Kaycee told Jay she ‘d promised her friends that not only would he be dressed as a magician, but he would do tricks. So, Jay went into training mode, studying magic online and in books, and by the time the reception came, he had an hour of magic tricks. POOF! He was a magician.

These days, Jay perfects his craft with lots of practice, along with taking showmanship tips from friend Ron Bauer, a seasoned magician who has a number of books published on the subject. “In order to be a decent magician, you need to be able to fool people,” he explained. “Skill and dexterity are only half of the package. You have to be at least somewhat entertaining to pull it off. Misdirection, which is the key to ‘magic,’ is all in the presentation, or acting, if you will.”

You could say Jay is a card-carrying magician.

Jay shares his magic at kids’ birthday parties and local Boy Scout events, and he even did “table magic” at a friend’s restaurant for a while, never charging more than just enough to cover his expenses.

One of the most memorable magic acts Jay gave was during a “How not to get cheated at poker” demonstration at a restaurant bar for a couple of friends. One of the bar patrons started heckling. The heckler was quite drunk, and the bartender was worried about him driving when he left. “I deliberately got the guy involved in a ‘sucker bet’ card trick, and bet him his car keys that I could name his card,” Jay said. “He, of course, lost, and gave up his keys to me, which I gave to the bartender. The fact that I fooled him in front of all his buddies shut up the heckling. He calmed down and watched the rest of my demonstration, and thanked me for the show. I guess it made me feel like I might have saved someone’s life, and that felt great.”

Jay’s family and his colleagues also have become guinea pigs when he is working to hone a trick … even the occasional customer has been asked to pick a card, any card. “The only time that magic comes out at a customer site is when an application is being installed, and the customer and I are ‘watching paint dry,’” joked Jay. “I’ll pull out my cards or whatever to practice and … end up entertaining the customer until the install is completed.”

Even these Boy Scouts weren’t prepared for Jay’s illusions.

Busy body: When not performing magic, Jay is working on his private pilot’s license – he’s only 14 hours of flight time from completion.

First job: Handyman, at age 14, for an elderly couple in Novi, Mich.

Greatest wish: “That people would start caring about other people again. The world is becoming a ‘What’s in it for me and the heck with the other guy’ world, and that is just a shame. A lot of people do not even know their next door neighbor’s name.”

Words to live by: “A person can accomplish anything, provided that the person does not give up when it gets difficult.”

Thoughts on telecom: “My thoughts on the telecom industry as a whole boils down to the fact that ‘Tip and Ring’ seem to be going the way of the dinosaurs, and VoIP will be the verbal communications norm.

Do you know someone who has Personality+? We’re looking for interesting characters in telecom to take the spotlight! Please send nominations to Cara Sievers at [email protected].

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