Friday, October 3, 2008

Sim Sala Bim

Magician Steve Spill, of Magicopolis fame, shared with us how his copy of Magic Words: A Dictionary arrived at exactly the right moment, against astronomical odds:
Thank you so much for your scholarly work. I am pleased to tell you that your book, Magic Words, was put to good use the moment it arrived here at Magicopolis.

My friend Bob just finished a book I loaned him, Trouping with Dante by Marion Trikosko, and phoned to let me know he enjoyed it. He asked if I could tell him a little about the words Sim Sala Bim. Bob asked what the words mean, wanted to know their origin, and so on. I said that I thought they were made up by Dante but was not sure.

While telling him I would try and find out more, the mailman arrived with a package that I opened as we were talking. In it was a book, a most extraordinary book, Magic Words by Craig Conley.

“Bob,” I said into the phone, “Sim Sala Bim is the Swedish equivalent of abracadabra, and is known in other Scandinavian cultures as well…”

I then continued to give him information about the history of the words, how Whit Hadyn said they were nonsense syllables from a Danish nursery rhyme, and that Orson Welles used Sim Sala Bim as magic words in the 1967 film Casino Royale. I went on until Bob stopped me.

“Hey, Steve, where are you getting all this information?”

“From this dictionary of magic words,” I said calmly. “It just arrived in the mail.”

I couldn’t hold back any longer, and told him what had just happened. Bob thought I was kidding him. What a fantastic, unbelievable, mind-boggling coincidence we had just shared. What are the odds that I would get this obscure information in the mail at just the moment Bob asked for it? A quintillion to one would be my guess.

Thank you Craig for the surprise and wonder,

Steve Spill

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