Monday, July 09, 2007

On the Pot

Odd Encounter of the Week: uncoolness

I almost got fired a couple weeks ag. . . .

What's that you say? Uncoolness isn't that odd at all for me? Ha, good one.

Anyways, I almost got fir. . . .

Wait, you say hanging out at Civil War battlefields isn't cool? No one wears V-neck undershirts anymore? And reading is out now? Man, all the rad dudes loved to read back in my day!


(sigh) Usual, Consistent, Expected Encounter of the Week: uncoolness.

I almost got fired from work a couple weeks ago. I did not punch a customer nor did I sneak $25 out of the register to, uh, fundraise. I did worse.

I admitted I had never read a word of any Harry Potter book ever published. Nor had I seen the movies. Nor did I care.

My boss looked at me with part disdain, part disgust, and immediately stormed from my presence.

You can imagine my surprise, dear reader, when my supervisor told me they wanted me to work the night/morning of July 20/21, the night we release Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to a ravenous crowd of all ages that would make Clay Aiken's fan club look like they belong in a convent. Not only would I work that night, he told me, but they wanted me to emcee the Harry Potter Trivia Game from 9:30-11:00 as well. As if this were not bad enough, I also "am responsible for the teenagers." I do not know what this entails, but I imagine I, or anyone for that matter, will fail at this duty.

A little background: Borders intends to throw a large midnight party on July 20/21 to celebrate/worship the release of the final chapter in the Harry Potter epic. They call it the Grand Hallows Ball. I confess I do not know what this title means, but scheduled activities for the evening include:

-revealing your Hogwarts smarts at the Potter Spelling Bee
-silencing foes at the Great Snape Debate
-dressing in ball attire or as your favorite character to enter our costume contest

I confess again that I do not know what any of this language means.

Except the part about dressing up. One does not miss a scary detail like that. Especially when it applies to one's own life.

Having heard of the need to dress up as my favorite character, I immediately panicked, expressing the fact that I had no favorite character. In fact, I knew no character at all.

After some intense research (read: asking my ex-roomate and Harry Potter afficiando Nate), I discovered that certain characters in the Pot series exist as "muggles." Once again, wtf? Turns out, these people called "muggle" cannot perform magic. In a word, they are normal.

Imagine that, something normal associated with Harry Potter. Who knew?

I had my heart set on dressing as a muggle, that is, dressing like myself and wearing a sign around my neck proclaiming "MUGGLE."

Ha, I win. Nothing weird or silly here. Well played, Muggle Humphries, well played.

That victory lasted until today when a co-worker informed me that the store had rented a tuxedo for me to wear that evening. Plus, a company had agreed to come and spray paint kids's hair because apparently that's what kids like to do these days.

Well, kids and Harry Potter trivia emcee's, that is.

Apparently, the hair spray company will do mine for free. What a deal. The night of the 20th, I will wear a tux to work with some kind of colored hair. I'm guessing brown will not be an option.

The whole night reminds me of the nights when the new Star Wars movies came out. I played uncool those nights too and slept. From what I hear though, people showed up early, days early, all decked out in Star Wars costumes to be the first to see the new old movie. I expect the same the night Harry Potter comes out - crazed fans dressed up like characters from the books bursting with months of excitement finally coming to a head.

For this reason (among many), I approach this night with great dread. Can you imagine the consequences if the mob finds out there is one among them who cares nothing for their idol? Pummeled by 5-year olds with hand-crafted brooms. Exiled as a muggle (assuming this is what the people do to muggles) by intolerant adolescents. Turned into a hogwart (I don't know what this is but it sounds awful) by the hand at the end of a wand.

If I do not post on July 21, you and you alone loved ones, will know what has occured.

From what I gage, the whole world cannot wait for July 21. I guess that means Harry Potter is cool. As one who has no desire for HPot, I stand relegated to the realm of the uncool. It's middle school all over again.

If you hate me, show up at Borders the night of the 20th because I will look uncool. If you like me but like laughing at me, show up at Borders the night of the 20th because I will look uncool. Honestly, how cool can one look wearing a tuxedo with spray painted hair while trying to hide indifference and embarrassment?

About as cool as one looks not caring about Harry Potter in the 21st century.


Jeff said...

trip from Raleigh to Charlotte for Ben's Harry Potter Celebration @ Borders = on the schedule

Tammy said...

There are going to be several similar occasions in Beantown, as well. In Cambridge, they are turning all of Harvard Square into a replica of Diagon Alley. I myself have enjoyed reading the series a great deal, but this is absurd. I mean, this is almost as big a celebration as when the Sox won the pennant. And we were waiting 96 years for that.
You are right to label this frenzied fervor "worship". Would that I worshiped my own God with such zeal.
That said, you should at least give the first book a shot. They really are very well-written. I had refused to read them for a very long time simply because of all the hype. I am one who chooses to do something simply because everyone else is doing it, which I guess if kind of a reverse peer pressure. I only picked up the first one to read while I was recovering from an appendectomy last year. Once I started, though, I finished them all within 2 months. I can, however, wait until there is a copy available at my library to read the last book. I'll just have to block my ears for a while. :)

Brad said...

I'll echo the above comment about giving the books a shot...I fell for them hard this summer and read the entire extant series in a week.

Adam Hoffman said...


I confess my friend, I too am uncool. I even stand alone in my very own home. And you've heard the phrase about a house divided. Fortunately for me my roommate will not be dressed up waiting for the celebration. Nor will said roommate be wailing endlessly, morning the end of another stage of life as Harry Potter shall no longer hold the angst of "what comes next". I stand with you, although, quitting would be an option in your situation, I mean you need more time to adequately pour your life into raising support anyways. Sounds like you may be ignoring an open door from our Lord and Savior who is our protector and sheild from all things evil (aka Harry Potter and mania that has erupted). Teenagers, midnight and Harry Potter go together as well as bread crubs, wood glue, and soured laundry. Be afraid Ben, Be very afriad

Megan said...

Read the first one Ben, and if you really have no desire to read any of the rest I'll read every book Ann Coulter has ever written.

Tasha said...

Haha! Even though I just reserved my copy at Barnes and Noble (at no cost) I might have to switch gears and come to Borders instead. :)

Wilson said...

hahahaha, can we get pictures posted afterwards?

Hilary Elvin said...

If you must do this job, I would have someone PRAY over you when the night is over. but that is my opinion !

James said...

Wow, Charlotte stores are hard core. I must say that management isn't accosting any of our employees. At least not yet. Alas, I work that evening as well, otherwise I would there with you early and for the duration. I do agree with the others: you should give the books a try. Not only are they good books, they are interesting as a cultural phenomenon. I think you would be surprised to see what it really means when a customer says her son is reading on a Harry Potter level. Good luck. We should get together and compare HP notes before you leave the south.

Kristen Greenholt said...

Fantastic degree of coolness, Ben! Might I suggest bright pink spray paint? Watch out and make sure you don't get muggle-d. :-)

Katie said...

greetings from middleboro.
ben, i would be really excited if I were you, and I will probably participate in the great snape debate in my borders up here....on a side note...that person megan must be a true friend because as much as I think you should read HP, I would rather gouge my eyes out and sit bare assed on hot coals and then dip my self in a vat of kosher salt than read/watch/or do anything to recognize that that hateful....lots of words I'll say but won't type (and you know how fanciful my language can be) lest you have easily offended blog readers ann coulter writes