Andrew Slack, books, Dursley, God, Harry Potter, Harry Potter Alliance, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film), HPA, humor, JK Rowling, literature, Places in Harry Potter, social causes, Sorcerer
… at least that’s how I see it from here.
I am quite fortunate to have friends and acquaintances with whom I have breakfast, lunch, coffee or whatever on a pretty regular basis.
Today was one of those days.
The morning started out with a monthly breakfast get-together of folks who are of a similar mind politically. We started doing this in the fall of 2004. There had been an election … and we had assembled a pretty cohesive group of active folks.
And we wanted to be around for a race that was looming in 2006.
We were. Our Guy won.
Flash forward all these years and the core group, plus many new folks, still get together once a month to laugh or agonize … or both.
Today there was a lot of laughter. Our Guy won.
As word spread in the main part of the restaurant, a man appeared at the doorway unannounced. He called out loudly … “Who WON???”
The resounding answer of course … Our Guy. And everyone laughed.
“Good thing, too” he continued “If he lost my wife was ready to move away.”
Some people take this stuff so seriously.
It was about then that I noticed that I had spilled some sugar by my coffee cup. Don’t ask what possessed me but I decided … since nobody was looking anyway … that I would just do a quick “poof” of air to blow the sugar away.
Well, not only did the sugar go … so did the straw paper … and the sugar wrappers … and my napkin.
I can be so smooth sometimes.
On to the next engagement … coffee with some friends.
And at that point, I assured them I was all coffeed out. I was. No sense pushing the limit.
As one woman was relating a very … very … long story, my intestines kicked in with an appropriate response to the mass quantities of coffee from breakfast. Coffee does what coffee does.
Holly makes a mad dash to the restroom.
Holly returns approximately five pounds lighter.
On to lunch.
What a delightful group of people I had lunch with … which brings me to the Hope For The Future part of today’s entry.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away … okay … not so very far away … it was here actually … I met a young man. The son of a friend of mine. He was polite and intelligent and funny. So funny that he decided to make a living being funny.
And he did.
For a good while he made his living bringing joy to people with his intelligence, wit and keen sense of humor.
But it was not enough.
Inside this young man was a burning desire … to do more … to touch people’s lives in ways that would benefit all mankind.
No small task.
Enter Harry Potter.
Yes, that Harry Potter.
One day, as he was contemplating how to take on the task of reforming the world, and how to go about it, a friend of his suggested that he read a book … one that many other folks had already read … and enjoyed.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
This was not the first time this young man had been approached to read the book. But until that very moment, he had resisted. After all, weren’t these books for young children? What could possibly be of interest to him, after all?
And then he picked up the book.
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.
He immediately closed the book … looked up in amazement … began laughing … and said “This book just changed my life.”
And change it did … because from that moment on … the magic began.
I wish I could tell you exactly how everything happened … and how it all happens in his mind … but I cannot.
It is magic, after all.
Magic and a healthy dose of legwork … supported and fueled by a passionate belief in the goodness and fairness that all people deserve in life.
All I know is that he now is the key inspiration of the Harry Potter Alliance … and he travels worldwide to spread the message.
And does good.
Not just with the HPA.
At lunch today, he was respectful to his mother. Polite and respectful.
He engaged the two small squirming daughters, ages 4 and 7, of one lunch-goer in a conversation and made appropriate complements on their artistic efforts. Upon leaving, they turned and waved as he said “It was a pleasure to have met you …” and called them by name.
He listened patiently to his mothers dear friend and all her opinions … which she freely gave.
He told jokes … ala … Mother Theresa and God.
Mother Theresa spent a lifetime working with people … knowing that most other religions felt they were the “only true religion”. After a lifetime of selfless work, she died and finally had a chance to meet God.
After a brief talk, she and God decided to have dinner. He opened a few cans of tuna, put them on a plate … and they ate. She was grateful.
Down below them, she could see lots and lots of people … laughing and eating at a huge banquet. But she said nothing.
The next day, the same thing happened. Tuna. And the banquet below in Hell … with all the people … and all the food beautifully prepared. She was grateful for the tuna … again … but wondered.
On the third day, eating her tuna, she finally was consumed with curiosity about what she could see. So she asked.
“God, I like being in Heaven, and I appreciate the tuna … but why are we eating just this, when all those people in Hell have a feast each day?”
“Well,” said God “Let’s be honest … for just two people, it doesn’t pay to cook.”
After all, I really like intelligent humor … especially when nobody else gets it. And they didn’t.
And after lunch, he rose to give heartfelt hugs to all us women of a certain age.
We all glowed.
The ability of a story to transport you … to transform you.
Andrew Slack believes that popular books and movies aren’t just entertainment, and that their fans can change the world. And, with the internet as his tool, he’s set out to prove it. Since he was a small boy, Andrew has had dueling loves: storytelling and social justice. And, a few years ago, he found the vehicle to combine them: Harry Potter.
In this interview, heard on NPR, Andrew traces the beginnings of the Harry Potter Alliance … along with a healthy pitch for the causes they espouse.
In this article in the Boston Globe, Joanna Weiss asks “Could the Harry Potter Alliance be the Woodstock of the Millennials?”
Oh no … it is much more … much, much more.
So let’s see … nice young man … respectful to his mother … intelligent … kind … funny … nice looking … responsible … treats old ladies and young children with kindness … and …
Like the book says … “Harry Potter was a very unusual boy in many ways.”
Have I got a girl for you!