Have I ever told you about one of the best days of my life?
I think it was a Friday, I’m not entirely sure. In any case, it felt like a Friday. You know that Friday feeling. I do know that I got on the train and instead of opening up a giant new 5 lb. macroeconomics textbook, I opened up a giant new 5 lb. Harry Potter novel. And I was in heaven.
It was the elation of pure freedom… something I rarely brush elbows with these days. I’d finished the grad school quarter and was free to not study on weekends, to watch television at night, and to read pure witches and warlocks fiction to my heart’s desire.
I still remember Kristen telling me how she was on an airplane and an older gentleman next to her looked over and saw her cracking open her giant Harry Potter tome. (It has to be good if you’re willing to lug that around on your travels, right?). He says to her, “I don’t think it’s a good idea for our children to be reading about witchcraft and sorcery.” And in typical Kristen fashion, she says without missing a beat, “I’ve read the entire series and have yet to cast an effective spell.”
How I wish I had such in-the-moment wit at my disposal.
These days, I’m frequently reminded of my historical love affair with Harry Potter (the books, not the movies so much) as we use an exact phrase from the series almost daily: You-Know-Who.
In the book, the kids are forbidden from saying the bad guy’s name. Something about if you say Lord Voldemort then he’ll come and get you. So instead they’re always saying He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named or You-Know-Who.
I noticed James and I also talk in code so as to avoid detection. We’ll be driving in the car and James will check the rearview mirror, “You-Know-Who’s almost lights out.” If you say his name, it’ll snap him out of the pre-nap trance and that kid’ll never go to sleep. I’m talking about The-Big-One. Another one of our simplistic code phrases. They haven’t completely caught on to The-Big-One and The-Little-One.
The last two mornings in a row, The-Big-One showed up at my bedside at exactly 5:11 and 5:26am. I tried my most focused and potent “Expelliarmus!” on him.
You-Know-Who was not phased.