Although I am a full-time magician and hypnotist, I guess I do have "another job." I am so active in the Society of American Magicians that I guess it would qualify for a part-time job.
The Society of American Magicians was founded in 1902 and is the world's oldest and most prestigious magic organization. It has a long and rich history of magicians who have held membership. Some names like Harry Houdini and David Copperfield are well known to the public. Others, like Dr. Harlan Tarbell, Howard Thurston & Milbourne Christopher are more famous in magic circles. The S.A.M. has nearly 300 local clubs or "Assemblies" across the United States and overseas. They also hold an incredible magic convention each year.
I've been a member for 20 years, but my real involvement in the Society of American Magicians did happen until about 5 years ago. I received a call from a man I had only briefly met once or twice, but who was going to become one of my dearest friends. Christopher Bontjes as the Midwest Regional Vice President for the S.A.M. and he had aspirations to move to a higher office. He was looking for a replacement and asked if I would be interested in the position. My response was "Let me think about it."
Don't misunderstand me, it was a great honor to be asked, but I wanted to make sure that if I accepted it, it would be for the right reasons. I didn't want to take the job for just the title. I wanted to make sure I could contribute something. So, after a few days of consideration, I said "yes." That was the start of a wonderful working relationship with the S.A.M.
It wasn't long before I was asked to be on several committees. Again, I wanted to make sure that I could contribute, so I chose my committees wisely. I wound up as being the Chairman of the National Magic Week Committee. National Magic Week is the last 7 days of October and is a time when we celebrate the generous and kind works done by magicians throughout the year. As Chairman, I proposed the creation of the S.A.M. Humanitarian Award, which recognizes an individual or an Assembly who is involved with charities or humanitarian efforts. The first recipient was David Copperfield in 2012. I had the pleasure of personally presenting the award to David.
I was also given chores like helping to rewrite by-laws, heading up roundtable discussions at conventions and setting up and tearing down for meetings. Evidently I did something right because I was pulled aside and asked to consider running for a higher office. Again, my response was "let me think about it."
The "higher office" they were talking about would put me on track to become President of the S.A.M. The same office held by Houdini, Thurston, Hardeen, Leipzig, Tarbell and 94 others. I had to think long and hard about this. Again, it was a great honor, but could I contribute? After a lot of soul-searching, I agreed.
And that's where I am now. National 2nd Vice President, still Chairman of the National Magic Week Committee (for a little while longer) and ad salesman for our upcoming convention program. If all goes as scheduled, I am slated to become the 100th President of the Society of American Magicians in the summer of 2016. I am also going to be the first Omaha magician and the first Nebraska magician to hold this position.
The S.A.M. is a wonderful organization that helps magicians in a variety of ways. It's my pleasure to be both a member and an officer and I'm working hard to make sure that I live up to my promise of being able to contribute something to this wonderful organization.