Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nah, I'm Kidding, Grade-Schoolers are Alright.

For the past five days, I have not been a functioning member of society. I’ve lived on the fringes, like Nell in the first twenty minutes, or Howard Hughes in his last ten years. But today, I begin the process of reintegration—a process that actually begins with shutting myself in my room for an indeterminate period of time. And by the time the week is through, I plan to be able to break my media-blackout, to no longer have to yell, “NO NO WAIT DON’T TELL ME ANYTHING I WILL EAT YOUR FACE!” to every person I encounter, and to finally feel as accomplished as most 12 year-olds. Because by the time this week is through, I plan to have read The Final Hary Potter.

Oh, right, and I’m also reading it because I can’t friggin’ wait. To which I know your response will be, “Well they why did you wait, Matt, don’t you know it came out on Saturday, don’t you care what happens, and can’t you give up one weekend of your life to stay up-to-date with a cultural milestone?” Now don't get me wrong, Harry Potter fans—I love you, I really do. You helped make books about boy wizards, magic spells, and made-up mythology—and, therefore, people who enjoy said books—socially acceptable (for which I and my social life can’t thank you enough). Plus, only you can appreciate a good “defense against the dark arts” or “wingardium leviosa!" reference (and let’s be honest, there’s no such thing as a bad one).

But here’s the thing: you’re all too stinkin’ good. For the past few months, I’ve encountered a dozen people who are “reading all the old books” to prepare for the new one—and these are people who, unlike me, have jobs and lives, or at least pets. One of the reasons I fear this and every new Harry Potter is because I know that the returning characters and open plotlines will force me to accept that I have no clue what’s going on. The first few chapters of every new book become a marathon of cross-referencing with the final few chapters of the last—heck, the weird “politics of magic” opening of Book 6 almost had me running to Which would all be fine, actually, were it not for the suspicion that it’s probably not even that complicated, because grade-schoolers get it, and grade-schoolers are, by default, idiots.

And that’s not even my main deal with you guys. Because my main deal with you guys is that, since this weekend, I’ve been painted as a slacker just because I didn’t finish the 800 page book in the four days since it’s been out.

I feel like a Ron Weasley living in a world full of Hermiones, and it’s your admirably unflagging enthusiasm that’s to blame. Way to go guys. Now I’m off to turn to the first page and hope that I’m not supposed to remember who Lanius Fenellium or whoever is, where he came from, and whether or not he wants Harry Potter dead.


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