|The Amazing Randi|
Magician and scientific skeptic James Randi has been performing magic tricks since he was a kid—though he prefers to call what he does "conjuring," he explains, "because 'magic' would be controlling nature by way of spells and incantations ... They don’t work." In his Big Think interview, Randi chronicles his decades-long career as a "conjurer," and his beginnings as an escape artist. He has broken out of 22 jails, and by his early 20s, he had broken Houdini’s record for the longest submersion underwater in a coffin. Perhaps not surprisingly, he says he has had some close calls, nearly losing his life at least twice...
...Randi also speaks about why he finally came out publicly as gay at the age of 81, saying that the public reaction has been "wonderful," and noting that he could have never come out as a young man. "I would have gotten stoned," he said. "I would have gotten beaten up every day, I’m sure, by the kids at school. But not anymore. That day, I hope, is passed."