It's my itty-bitty Houdini cross-stitch that I made for Teller. I planned it for his February birthday, and wound up giving it to him on my July birthday. Hey, dates are arbitrary and time is an illusion.
Teller was gracious, as always. He said, "Oh, I know exactly where I'm going to put this. I have a Houdini grotto in my home..." (Did he really say "grotto"? I like to think so, but the truth is lost to history.)
To which I dorkily responded, "I know." Because I had read about his Houdini collection.
The next day, when I was in the Penn & Teller theater again post-show, Teller called to me by name from across the lobby. "I showed your Houdini to a couple of people. My wardrobe woman remarked that it's particularly fine work." And then, as far as I can recall, I blacked out.
FF to a week ago when I was sitting in a local coney, having lunch with my iPad. (Coneys are, as far as I can tell, pretty much a Detroit thing. I didn't realize this until recently, when I saw a little bit more of our country. Here, Coney Islands are two to a corner. Everywhere else, well, they're whatever that region has for diners.) Someone I follow on twitter had tweeted an article about Teller which appeared in Esquire magazine last year. I thought I'd already read it, but doing a quick scan of the article, it was clear I had not — because there's no way I'd have seen this photo before and not flipped my lid.
You see that up there on the left? In the corner of the window well? The bright red frame in that room of amazing artifacts including the got-dang Houdini cross?
I had never really wondered before whether Teller's consistently generous, gracious, effusive manner was genuine. I mean, to a large degree, does it matter? I've met him on several occasions, and he's always been the model of what "celebrities" should strive for, in my opinion. Does it really matter whether he meant it when he appreciatively told me he had just the place for my gift in his home?
Well, I can certainly say it means the world knowing that he did. And that four years later, my little contribution to his collection still has a place.