When Teller was in high school, he had a strange and pivotal teacher named D. G. Rosenbaum, an actor and magician who looked diabolical, with a black goatee and pince-nez. Rosey, as the kids called him, smoked black cigarettes and liked to crack raw eggs into his milk shakes. One snowbound afternoon, when his classroom was nearly empty, Rosey read a short story to those few students before him, including an enraptured Teller: “Enoch Soames,” by Max Beerbohm, written in 1916.
In the story, Beerbohm relates the tragic tale of Soames, a dim, hopeless writer with delusions of future grandeur. In the 1890s, Beerbohm recounts, Soames made a deal with the devil: In exchange for his soul, Soames would be magically transported one hundred years into the future — to precisely 2:10 P.M. on June 3, 1997 — into the Round Reading Room at the British Museum. There, he could look at the shelves and through the catalogs and marvel at his inevitable success. When Soames makes his trip, however, he learns that time has almost erased him before the devil has had the chance. He is listed only as a fictional character in a short story by Max Beerbohm.
Thirty-four-and-a-half years after that snowy reading by his satanic-looking teacher, and accepting the large risk that he might be the only person in the world who cared about an old short story called “Enoch Soames,” Teller flew to England ahead of June 3, 1997.
As it turned out, there were about a dozen people in the Round Reading Room that afternoon — a dozen people who had been so struck by that short story at some point in their lives, they too had decided to make the trip to London. There was a woman from Malibu named Sally; there was a short, stocky Spanish man; there was a slender woman wearing pale green. And at ten past two, they gasped when they saw a man appear mysteriously out of the stacks, looking confused as he scanned empty catalogs and asked
unhelpful librarians about his absence from the files. The man looked just like the Soames of Teller’s teenage imagination, “a stooping, shambling person, rather tall, very pale, with longish and brownish hair,” and he was dressed in precise costume, a soft black hat and a gray waterproof cape. The man did everything Enoch Soames did in Max Beerbohm’s short story, floating around the pin-drop-quiet room before he once again disappeared into the shelves.
“For some reason,” Sally from Malibu said, “I’m having to fight tears.”
And all the while, Teller watched with a small smile on his face. He didn’t tell anyone that he might have looked through hundreds of pages in casting books before he had found the perfect actor. He didn’t tell anyone that he might have visited Angels & Bermans, where he had found just the right soft black hat and gone through countless gray waterproof capes. He didn’t tell anyone that he might have had an inside friend who helped him stash the actor and his costume behind a hidden door in the stacks. Even when Teller later wrote about that magical afternoon for The Atlantic, he didn’t confess his role. He never has.
An amazing article about magic.
Stories, memory, and pilgrimage matter. Always.
That’s fucking beautiful, man. That’s like… some perfect moment and some perfect story. Holy shit.
Teller just shot way up my list of Coolest People Ever.
(via deducecanoe)Source: esquire.com
- arietina reblogged this from summerjames
- disneymamarz likes this
- shortazn97 reblogged this from hackettout
- smokeland reblogged this from hackettout
- monochromememory likes this
- ampand likes this
- superflyse reblogged this from youngbloodbuzz
- youngbloodbuzz reblogged this from hackettout
- panda21595 reblogged this from hackettout
- panda21595 likes this
- hackettout reblogged this from saunteringvaguelydownwards
- azurewren likes this
- future-less-vivid likes this
- watchkeyphone reblogged this from stripesweatersandwaterbottles
- pastoraleglantine reblogged this from stripesweatersandwaterbottles
- stripesweatersandwaterbottles reblogged this from deducecanoe
- thestoutorialist likes this
- littleportmanteau reblogged this from lettersfromtitan
- mistressmaggot likes this
- rhiannonfm reblogged this from starlightandtea
- its-heya-bitch likes this
- saltsilverandblood reblogged this from summerjames
- you-had-me-at-hello-im-thedoctor reblogged this from lie-to-the-cage-now
- lie-to-the-cage-now reblogged this from therisingharvestmoon
- not-always-this-articulate reblogged this from dinojay
- nick-queeraway likes this
- likegruesome likes this
- jessiebutt721 likes this
- alabamarkansas likes this
- extraterrible likes this
- scott-mcballin reblogged this from ladysaviours
- ladysaviours reblogged this from unsuspectingfish
- bantermeister reblogged this from thepierglass
- thepierglass reblogged this from twonickels and added:
- unsuspectingfish reblogged this from penguinsweaters
- wolfandkoala likes this
- miss-marina-writes likes this
- twonickels reblogged this from noeatinginthelibrary
- thepaperplaneofexistence likes this
- spookymaggie reblogged this from batsonthebrain
- imyourdestinymotherfucker likes this
- starlightandtea reblogged this from batsonthebrain
- batsonthebrain reblogged this from saunteringvaguelydownwards
- saunteringvaguelydownwards reblogged this from dragoncharming
- not-always-this-articulate likes this
- saunteringvaguelydownwards likes this
- plaiddingsbyplaidofplaidness reblogged this from lettersfromtitan
- dragoncharming reblogged this from ladyironofshield
- cygnoir likes this
- ihatedinner reblogged this from ashrussell