Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Do you enjoy crushing hopes and dreams?

Another entertaining moment from the Fourth of July weekend came courtesy of Harry Potter. My friend spotted a copy of the last Harry while wandering about in my oldest sister's kitchen. He started asking questions about the book, and my sister laughed because she was amused that he managed to spot it. On this occasion, her boyfriend was the one reading the book, and he had camouflaged the cover with a blank sheet of paper because he's of the view that people make certain unflattering judgments about grown men who read Harry Potter. (This, of course, made my friend defensive, because he's a grown man who reads Harry Potter.)

The exchange prompted me to recount a story about the dangers of talking about Harry in public. I told them about my gaff at a restaurant the Monday after the last Harry was released. I was at lunch with yet another grown man who's a fan of the child wizard. I knew that he'd been out on Fire Island the weekend of the release and hadn't had much time to read, so I asked how far along he'd gotten.

"Already finished it," he said, to my amazement.

I'm not much of a fan of wizardry, so I had no qualms asking him what happens.

"So ... does Harry die or what?" I asked, with all the nonchalance I could muster.

After re-confirming that he wasn't going to ruin the fun for me, he proceeded to tell me how the tale ends. And as he did so, I heard a anguished squeal from the table next to us.

"No, no! Please stop!" howled the poor woman, with her face aghast. (Remember that scene from The Excorcist? "Make it stop! Make it stop!")

Yeah. We seriously traumatized her. My food somehow tasted less appetizing afterwards.

So, you'd figure that I would've learned my lesson. But while recounting this story in my sister's kitchen, I didn't edit out my lunch companion's response. After my sister and my friend laughed heartily at my moment of public shame, it dawned on my sister that I'd just done it again.

"Oh no! He hasn't finished!" she exclaimed, leaving me wallowing in guilt once more.

Her boyfriend looked wholly dejected. But then he smiled and assured us that he had already finished reading. I don't know if he was telling the truth, but I'm of the view that it's impolite to question the honesty of grown men who read Harry Potter.

Yeah, I can be a bit slow sometimes. But, hey ... I've finally learned. If you know whether Harry lives, you didn't find out by reading this entry.