A secondhand story, but from two sources, both of whom I consider reliable:
The setting: The local magic club meeting
The cast: The club regulars, along with a couple of visitors
The plot: Secrets may be revealed to people who are (gasp!) not club members, sending some into a tizzy
The theme: magicians are idiots
So there were visitors at the local magic club this particular night. Not an issue, right? You'd think not, but we're not dealing with reasonable people here - we're dealing with magicians. Any intersection between magicians and common sense is purely coincidental, and if you're concerned, don't be. The union won't last long.
During one of the segments anyone who signed up was to perform, then teach, a trick. None of the tricks were earth-shattering. None were proprietary. In fact, all of the effects taught that night are available for free in books at my local library.
And the visitors...Were they just people who wandered in off the street? Were they hooligans who somehow crashed this exclusive magicians soiree? Nope, they were recent graduates of a magic camp who had been told about this 'wonderful' club by the proprietors of the camp.
I'm betting you're getting ahead of me at this point. Anyway, the time comes to teach these ever-so-valuable secrets and a hue and cry goes up: we must not allow the visitors to stay while we exhibit our superior knowledge! A debate ensues. After much haranguing and hair-pulling it is decided that perhaps, just this once, these neophytes can be allowed a peek behind the curtain.
They had already demonstrated an interest in magic by graduating from the magic camp, and by seeking out the club. And the difference between those deemed worthy to learn these deep, dark secrets and those doomed to ignorance? Fifteen dollars. That's right. No test, no initiation, no apprenticeship. Hand me your check and we ain't got no problem.
There are those in magic who have a slavish devotion to keeping the secrets of magic, well, secret. Unfortunately they often do this blindly, never looking to see if what they are doing is causing a greater harm.
If I were among those visitors that night I would have grabbed my wallet, headed toward the door, and bid those creepy magicians a fond farewell, letting them keep their 'secrets' as I went off and learned magic.