“Dom Spino and the Ordering of the Deathly Hallows”

It’s been almost a week now.

I’ve been trying to get my hands on the newest and final Harry Potter book since its July 21 release and I think it’s starting to show.

There are bags under my eyes, my skin is growing paler, and I’m losing my patience with random people. I’m being plagued with bad dreams. Perhaps “he who must not be named” is invading my mind, and I’ve never taken Occlemency classes. I’ve been to every bookstore on the Eastern Shore, (which isn’t very many stores now that I think of it), and I’ve always arrived an hour late or a moment short.

My time must be coming soon however.

Somehow, I know that good will prevail, and I will get my copy before I have to resort to mugging someone for their Harry Potter book, which seems ridiculous until you make yourself remember that people were mugged over Air Jordan sneakers for the better part of a decade.

(Author’s note: I am in this predicament because both my wife and myself thought the other had pre-ordered the book, and have taken turns sleeping on the couch as punishment to ourselves.)

Okay, let’s be frank here. I’m a twenty-nine-year-old man (child) that is chasing a kid’s book, and not just because I have a kid. When we read the Harry Potter book to him at bedtime, I am as excited for story time as he is, and as my wife reads it, I’m like a three- year-old holding onto ever word of “Green Eggs and Ham.” Then after we go to bed, we figure out who will read it until our eyes start to cross or the calling of tomorrow’s tasks make us finally retire to bed. I never thought that I’d be playing “paper rock scissors” with my wife to figure out who gets dibs on a children’s fantasy novel and the loser is stuck reading Kerouac’s “On the Road” again.

The irony of that gives new meaning to the “beat generation.”

I’m not obsessive about cult fav-classics that cause grown adults to dress up like storm troopers or a Vulcanized Leonard Nimoy. With that being said, however, I will not apologize for liking the Harry Potter series. I’ve not become a Potter “trekkie”, and I feel confident that I will never be rocking an Albus Dumbledore costume at any Halloween party or future Potter convention when we visit my parents in Las Vegas.

I will say that I know where to get said pieces of authentic memorabilia if you need a hookup. I know a guy that knows a guy that found a British website. They sell authentic wands hand-carved from wood. My kid got one for a gift, and it’s magical (in a non-literal sense.)

How can you not get behind a series of books that has actually gotten a generation of kids, and their parents for that matter, to read again? J.K. Rowling’s series is the “Lord of the Rings” of this generation and though she has taken much heat for whether or not she is going to kill young Harry off in the final book, what she has done for the literary world has made John Grisham’s novels look like a blip in the mainstream radar.

My 17-year-old sister read the book in two nights. My 15-year-old cousin took six hours out of her young life, and read the whole thing in one sitting. In this case, the line between brilliance and insanity is being stepped on by the youth of the world who are usually accused of merely jumping between the lines of right and wrong, and good and bad.

That can’t be a terrible thing, even if the story is about the world of wizardry, which according to the uber-religious, is about as good for the children as having it be called “Harry Potter and the Order of the Devil Worshippers.” The only thing I can say to the uber-religious is that you sound as extremist as the terrorists that you are so afraid of. You can’t scare the kids of the world into listening to you, because they are already smarter than most of you, and to claim that reading Harry Potter is a sin in the eyes of God is to pretty much going to make them stop listening to you immediately.

I think kids can get behind that it’s wrong to do drugs or commit crimes, or even cheat on an exam. Yet to tell them it’s a sin for reading a British kids’ novel is just ridiculous.

Don’t the religious extremists in this country have anything better to do with their time? Don’t they have a “planned parenthood” to picket in front of?

Why do you think that fantasy novels are so interesting to kids? It takes them to a world that they get to create in their mind, and you aren’t a part of. And it’s totally legal, and has nothing to do with them hanging out in a meth lab so if you look at the big picture, it’s a win-win.

Let’s pray for clarity on that subject.

I’m on constant guard that someone is going to spoil the ending. There are many spoilers out there, leaking stuff on the Internet, just asking to get sued, and crushing the anticipation and excitement that millions of kids in this world are swept away in the whole lot of it.

Try to remember how crushed you were when the bully on the playground told there was no Santa Claus, or that the money you get from the tooth fairy is merely your parents creeping into your room when you are asleep, or when someone told you young mothers that New Kids on the Block had broken up.

JK Rowling gave a gift of not only quality literature, but a story that truly bridges the gap between generations and entertains on different levels for different reasons. Kids like the fantasy, teens like Harry’s struggle to overcome the darkness of his own growing pains, and adults like the deeper meaning of good vs. evil in a complex world of Hogwarts and that mirrors the complexity of our own reality.

It’s hard enough to be a kid, so stop trying to control the things that they get excited about and just enjoy the fact that they are excited. Soon enough, they will be too cool to care what you think anyway, and there isn’t a spell in the entire “Wizard” world that will change that.

I realize though that if I don’t find a copy of that book soon, my son’s disappointment will be a far worse fate that the battling of the “Lord Voldemort” in my own dreams.

Even if I’m dreaming from the couch.

Email me at domspino@yahoo.com