Only one student has the title “Magic Man” at the University of Indianapolis. That is sophomore transfer student Justin Halaska. Halaska, a double major in communication and criminal justice, likes to spend his free time showing people magic tricks, a skill he acquired back at his previous college.
“At my old college [Heidelberg University] last year, my buddy Alex Vencil did card tricks all the time for wrestlers and other people on campus. I kept asking him to show me, and he wouldn’t, until I told him I was transferring,” Halaska said. “I had to prove to him I was transferring just for him to show me a few tricks. He showed me a few really cool tricks, and I decided it was fun.”
Halaska continued to polish his card tricks, starting with easy and simple tricks to then learning better and harder tricks.
“The first trick that my buddy Alex taught me was called the ‘shape shifter,’” Halaska said. “To learn the trick, it took me at least four weeks, maybe even more. It’s the easiest trick to do, but I just couldn’t get my fingers to move properly.”
Halaska said he has significantly cut his time to learn a card trick compared to learning his first card trick.
“To learn a trick today, I usually take between 20 to 30 minutes.” Halaska said. “I don’t take as long anymore because my fingers can move cards around pretty easily, and I can grab them more efficiently.”
Halaska, who is from Ohio, got a job over the summer working at Three Brothers Pizza, located in Parma, Ohio. Halaska was originally a server at the restaurant but then showed his bosses his card tricks.
“When I got the job, I said, ‘I am going to do card tricks.’ And my bosses said, ‘Well, why don’t you do your job first,’” Halaska said. “As soon as I started doing card tricks, I started bringing in more people [to the restaurant].”
For now, while he is at UIndy, Halaska practices his tricks around campus so he does not become too rusty.
“A lot of my friends think I just go around and talk to random people because I want to get to know them, but people do not realize I am paid to do it over the summer, so I have to practice,” Halaska said.
Freshman nursing major Amy Fraikin was one of those people for whom Halaska decided to practice his tricks. The trick Halaska performed was one in which he asks the person to choose a card, then asks the person all sorts of questions before revealing the card to him or her.
“I am so easily amused, so that was really just fascinating,” Fraikin said. “The trick is cool, but the interaction he [Halaska] has makes it even cooler.”
Another student, freshman psychology and pre-OT major, Darby Casey also watched Halaska and was surprised how easily he performed the trick.
“I liked how he [Halaska] acted while he was performing the trick, and the trick itself was pretty cool,” Casey said.
Overall, the friends Halaska has made, whether from around campus or on the wrestling team, they seem to really enjoy his act.
“Some friends think I am crazy, going up to random people and just talking to them,” Halaska said. “But otherwise, all my friends around campus and from the wrestling team are really supportive.”
Halaska’s summer plans include returning to Three Brothers to continue his employment there. He also plans to learn as many new tricks as possible.
“[My plans are] just to keep making people smile. When I work, half the time I don’t take tips,” Halaska said. “I just like seeing people smile, which is why I do it. It is more fun to brighten someone’s day when they are upset than to take money from someone who needs it more than I do.”