On June 28, 1921, illusionist, escape artist, and introvert, Harry Houdini was persuaded by his manager, Leo “Mr. 15 Percent” Lipmann to attend a party of potential investors for his next show.
Within minutes after arriving, Houdini was adrift in an ocean of adoring eyeballs. His devoted fans asked questions most believed impossible for any anti-social escapologist to answer: “How are you tonight?” “Is this your lovely wife?” “Nice straight jacket. How much did you pay for it?”
Houdini began to panic. He was packed in a crowd of strangers 20-deep and needed desperately to be alone. No introvert trapped by a mass of people this large had ever escaped. The few people who sensed his discomfort that evening believed the great Houdini had finally met his match.
…until a waiter dropped a tray of crab cakes.
As partygoers turned to watch the desperate attendant picking up the h’orderves while being flogged by the hostess, Houdini slipped silently to the floor and slithered to the bathroom where he spent the next two hours alphabetizing the medicine cabinet contents.
After three hours, a partygoer, who’d become violently ill after eating some dirty crab cakes, pounded violently on the bathroom door. Houdini dropped the magazine he’d been reading and jumped through a small second-story window. He rolled off the front sidewalk and limped to a local hospital where he was treated for dog bites and a broken ankle.
After sending his hosts a thank-you note, Harry Houdini went on to become one of the greatest escape artists of all time. He is also an inspiration for every introvert who has ever thought, “One way or another I have to escape this party.”