Hagrid-sized Hangover

I woke up this morning with a hangover worthy of a rookie at
a rugby drink-up.  No, I didn’t
find my face plastered to the nasty tile floor of some stranger’s
bathroom.  This type of hangover
had nothing to do with the blue Harry-tini I partook in, and only a little to
do with the three-day junk food binge. 
Food and alcohol hangovers are a result of self-imposed stupidity, which
on occasion can be a hell of a lot of fun, but really ought not to evoke any
sympathy.  I’m hung over after a
decade-long passion, which at times came close to obsession, officially
ended.  (Unofficially, I intend to
drag it out another couple decades with movie marathons, trips to Universal
Studios, and through forcing my friends’ children into reading the books.)

            By
now you’ve probably figured out I’m not mourning the loss of World Cup soccer
to Japan, though that added to the general letdown tone of a weekend that
started off so well.  Friday
afternoon found me donning my homemade t-shirt, Gryffindor scarf, and
Alivander’s wand one last time.  I
was heading to the movies with ‘the geek squad,’ as my brother so lovingly
named us, to see the final Harry Potter film.  And every part of it was amazing: the themed drinks, the
goodie bags we made each other, the lightning bolt tattoos (fake ones, but…),
the movie, and the friends.  But it
was sad, too.  Not just the movie,
which had me silently sobbing less than an hour in, but the idea that a certain
chapter of my life was coming to an end. 
It seems silly, perhaps. 
Unlike the older teens and twenty somethings that every news outlet in
the country has interviewed, I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter.  I grew up with Carebears and Gem–God,
was my generation jipped.  I didn’t
discover the Potter books until I was twenty-one, old enough to drink Guinness,
but longing for a butterbeer.  Mmm,
the two together might make a fabulous black and tan, but I digress.  The point is, though I never had
Hermione footsy pajamas and Quidditch wasn’t yet a club sport when I was at BU
(or I certainly would have played), Potter has still been an important part of
my life.

            In
addition to the hours of escape I enjoyed while reading the books and watching
the movies, I have J.K. Rowling to thank for an awful lot.  First, I’m relatively sure I never
would have made it to tenure if I hadn’t shared a passion for Potter with my
first principal.  At twenty-two,
she often confused my free spirit with a “certain disregard for the
rules”.  Luckily, she greatly
appreciated my willingness to share my time and obsession with the kids.  And when she came in the summer after
the fifth book was released wearing the tell-tale Umbridge bow and telling the
entire faculty we’d now be assessing student achievement by measuring how much
the circumference of student’s heads had grown, I was one of the few who got
the joke.  Bosses like when you get
their jokes.

            The
time I spent sharing my love of Harry with the kids has been special too.  Not to get sappy or to boast, because I
was only doing what I loved, but my after school ‘geek squad’ has provided an
outlet for some kids who really didn’t fit in anywhere else.  Harry Potter club, which was renamed
the DA by the students’ request (demand might be more accurate) never had the
attendance of some of the cooler clubs, but the kids who came, came
religiously.  And we had a
blast.  I love hearing from them up
at the high school that they’re still friends, bonded by a love of the books
and movies, and that they miss those Friday afternoons eating my rock-hard
pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies (the recipe was in the early stages then) and
drinking my cavity-inducing attempts to replicate butterbeer.  I miss them, too.

            And
I have my own friendships to be grateful for.  From our epic book seven release party, to our Siriusly long
stings of emails (the owls became too messy), to the smaller dvd get-togethers,
Potter helped me start, maintain, and strengthen friendships with a truly
terrific group of women.  If these
creative, witty, intelligent women are geeks, may I never be called cool.

            Finally,
I have the Potter series to thank for introducing me to fantasy.  Who knew a genre I thought I hated as a
kid would be what I most enjoy reading, viewing, and writing as an adult?  It was J.K. who taught me sometimes the
easiest, and certainly most enjoyable way to examine the world we live in,
is through the worlds we create. 
Rowling ends with, “All was well.”  I’m wise enough to know I’ll never do it as well, but if it
hadn’t been for Harry, I wouldn’t have done it at all.

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