I am, at present, faced with the rather grim circumstance of having to work full-time until I get to leave the real world and enter the warm bath that is academia at the end of September. God it's unpleasant.
To ease my distress I sought solace in consumerism and went out and bought a magic book (somewhat destroying the point of working to save money for the months ahead but there you go).
I ended up with a copy of Tangled Web by Eric Mead, a name completely unknown to most right thinking people but it has some resonance amongst the hobbyist magicians.
Skimming through the introduction by Teller, that's the silent one out of Penn & Teller, I find a discussion of why Mr. Mead gets to work for the great and the good (well, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kevin Costner, Jack Nicholson and the founder of amazon.com).
"Why does Eric get such cool gigs? ... yes, his technique is better. But the deeper reason that smart, classy people want Eric around is because he's smart and classy. He's a gentleman of erudition, grace, and wit, with just the right seasoning of mischief, frankness, and vulgarity ... This degree of sophistication is no accident. Eric reads three or four books a month. He studies art, music, science, chess, and ballroom dancing. He travels. He knows jokes. He keeps abreast of current events and sports. He is, in a word, urbane ...."
Perhaps chess is more socially acceptable than I feared a couple of weeks ago.