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by: Max Burbank

FULL DISCLOSURE! I am a Harry Potter fan. Really, really love the books. Buy 'em in hardback. Like the movies too. I've seen each one within the first week they came out. I am eagerly anticipating the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" on July 21st, although I'll have to wait until my wife and eldest daughter have read it before I get my chance. I'm almost enough of a fan to buy two hardback copies so I don't have to wait. Almost.

So yes, I'm pretty into the whole Harry Potter deal, but here's what I don't have to do: throw away my dignity. And you know what else I don't have to do? Take my dignity, choke it until it passes out, truss it's wrists together with duct tape, shove it headfirst into the garbage disposal and pound it's ass with a sledge hammer until every last bit of it has been ground into a bloody beef bourguignon and flushed into the sewer.

WARNING: This book has the magical power to transform you into a shameless wiener!

I don't know why it isn't enough to just enjoy things like comic books, Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. There seems to be a special magic about certain forms of entertainment that says "It's not enough to love me. You must PROVE that love by publicly abasing yourself in the most degrading manner possible. I require fan art, fan fiction and above all, costumes!"

I am a father. I have two intelligent, lovely young daughters, and just as it's my duty to try to shield them from drugs, liquor and boys of low moral character, it falls to me to make sure they don't become ridiculous dorkettes. And this Harry Potter thing? It's as if someone was hanging out on their school playground giving out free samples of crack, dorkwise.

I love my girls. They're everything to me. I'd take a bullet for either one of them, no questions. (Note to wife if she is reading this: I love you, but the taking the bullet thing is strictly for the kids. You are on your own in the getting shot department. Sorry.) I can only hope that in years to come when they look back on all the things I plan to do during this Summer of Harry Potter, they will understand that the emotional scarring I intend to inflict on them is for their own good. If everything goes according to plan, by the end of July they will never, ever want to be a super fan of ANYTHING, let alone Harry Potter.

Why? Listen. In 1975, my parents took me to a Lord of the Rings themed costume party. I was 13. I came as Gollum. I wore a leotard, tights and flippers. I still wake up screaming. Well, not my girls. NOT MY GIRLS!!!

It's already too late for these kids

In mid-June, as tension began building for the theatrical release of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" I launched my campaign by substituting the following list of incredibly juvenile parody names for the major Harry Potter characters. And believe me, as soon as I started, the number of times the whole Potter subject came up went down dramatically!

Harry Potter

Ron Weasley

Hermione Grainer


Professor Albus Dumbldore


Neville Longbottom

Draco Malfoy

Professor Severus Snape

Professor Trelawney

Hairy Pooter

Runs Weasel Teats

Whoremione Derangeder


Professor All-bum Bumwhore


Navel Barebottom

Gaybo Gayboy

Professor Alterboy Rape

Professor Walrus Pussy

I know Professor Trelawney doesn't come up in conversation that much as she's not a pivotal character, and that 'Walrus Pussy' doesn't sound much like 'Trelawney', but you need to trust me. Say 'Walrus Pussy' eight or nine times in public and see what kind of affect it has on your kids.

I began using every opportunity I was in public with my daughters to work on my British Low Country accent, or 'Haggrid imitation'. The girls thought they could avoid embarrassment by simply not speaking to me, but I've never needed a partner to start a conversation. It's quite simple to pipe up out of nowhere in a mall parking lot, "Ooooh, 'Arry, Oi don' know about tha'. Oi don' think professor Bumwhore would want you ta do tha' wi' a dragon's egg!" People will simply assume you are responding to something the severely humiliated pre teen next to you has said. If you're planning on using a Hagrid imitation to abuse your kids, here's a tip: Stand on tip-toe and lean precariously backwards, to increase the illusion of giant-like height. Don't worry if you fall over, it will add to your child's agony.

The midnight movie opening is a must for the dedicated Harry Potter geek. There's no use forbidding your children to attend. They'll sulk and pout and brood in their rooms. Soon they'll decide you're as bad as Harry's guardians, the Dursleys (parody name "Liverwurstlies") and this will only entrench their identification with the whole damn Harry Potterverse.

Insist on chaperoning them and their friends. Parents who don't know you that well will allow it and be damn grateful they aren't the ones staying up till two in the morning just so their jonesing kids can cop a Potter fix. While you're waiting in line, use every bit of Potter lingo you can. Locate a normally attired child about your groups age. They already feel pretty bad, because their parents obviously didn't let them come in costume. Caper around them saying, "Oh, look, a 'Muggle'! Look, kids, look at the adorable 'Muggle!'". Wave a stick at someone and shout 'Wingardium Leviosa!' and when nothing happens holler "Oh, 'Gor Blimey'! I s'pose I'll have to take a 'double' in 'charms' next semester!" Try to get people to chant along with you "EQUAL RIGHTS FOR HOUSE ELVES!" Walk up and down the line asking people if this is the one where Bumwhore dies. If you're lucky enough to see a girl who's dressed as anything but Hermione, be sure to ask her if she's Professor Walrus Pussy.

Once seated, I personally went the extra mile, and if you're up for it and don't have a lot of 'priors' on your 'rap sheet', you might want to think about trying the same thing. I told my girls I knew how disappointed they were I hadn't come in costume. Then I said "Your old Dad has a special surprise for you! I did come in costume! I'm dressed as "He Who Cannot Be Named", Lord, Moldybutt! My costume's under my clothes! C'mon you little 'Death Eaters', make the 'Dark Mark' and Lord Moldybutt will appear!!" I then began to strip, quickly revealing that not only did I NOT have a costume under my clothes, my underwear was in pretty terrible shape! Feigning rage, I ran up and down the aisles, shrieking at little 'Witches' and 'Wizards' demanding who'd performed an unauthorized 'Costumius begonius' curse on me. Now I hate getting maced and spending the night mostly naked in a drunk tank as much as the next guy, but I'm betting my girls will think twice before they go to opening night of anything ever again!

In the film "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkahban", Oscar winning British
stage and screen actress Emma Thompson plays the role of Professor Walrus Pussy.

All that leaves is this Friday's book debut. True Harry Potter fans all over the country will demonstrate their febrile over-commitment by attending events at bookstores that go on all day culminating in the midnight distribution of their pre-ordered copies of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". My daughters? No exception. It's too late to put them off this event, but I can darn well make sure that whatever the next giant black hole of Dorkishness turns out to be, my girls will be able to withstand it's pull.

At ten seconds to midnight, I imagine all the little Potterites will be lined up awaiting their books, attention riveted to the large cardboard boxes behind the bookstore counter.

Sure this looks like a fun way to kill some time waiting in line,
but moments later this girl's head burst open!

That's when I strike! A small amount of readily available theatrical pyrotechnics, some sound effects, a bank of dry ice fog and a pre-recorded message should turn their attention to the back of the line! There they will find a large, black velvet draped cube! "BEHOLD, MY FAITHFUL!" A taped voice will boom "WHO AMONG YOU DARES REVEAL THE SECRET OF... THE DEATHLY HALLOWS?!"

Several trembling seconds are sure to pass before some true believer pulls the drape away revealing...


In front of me shall be a small, beautifully lettered placard informing readers whose father I am.

As the 'piece de resistance', after a moment of staring goggle-eyed at the crowd, I shall wail "HARRY POTTER DIES ON PAGE 729!!" and burst into tears.

Honestly I have no more idea than you do if Harry dies, or even if the book has 729 pages. But believe you me, to a hoard of pre-teen fans up way past their bedtime, a middle aged, slightly overweight, caged father in a loin cloth eating a hoagie and getting mayonnaise everywhere has a great deal of credibility. At least enough to start a riot.

Good thing I tipped the local papers that there would be something worth photographing at the stroke of midnight. I figure if my daughters are ever able to suppress the memory, I can just haul out my recorded copy of the evening news.

They'll thank me for it one day.

I'm pretty sure.

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