The Wizarding Apprentices' Surprising Discovery
Today, my students eagerly embraced their opportunity to whine loudly and plaintively about the upcoming exam in their wizarding potions lab course (er, chemistry), claiming that it interfered with their scheduled weekend entertainment; reading the newest Harry Potter book, which is being released in a couple days (but you already knew that, unless you have been living under a rock for the past 10 months). I pretended to sympathize with them and whined to them about sacrificing my own perfectly good Harry Potter weekend plans that I had made approximately nine months ago, by being forced to write their lab midterm exam for them (I neglected to mention that the midterm is already written, but they don't know that, hahaha).
So dear readers, you might imagine that there was plenty of championship whining and griping happening in lab today (which there was), but that was nothing compared to what happened after the lecture professor walked into the lab to speak to me about the upcoming exam. He apparently overheard me tell my disgruntled students that they could imagine themselves as wizard's apprentices at Hogwart's School of Magic and imagine that I am the cruel and greasy (yet mysteriously sexy -- at least in the movies) Professor Snape.
Basically, the lecture professor is an older gentleman who is shorter than me (almost everyone is shorter than me, but he is much shorter), round, nearly bald, and is a reservist in the army. Of all the people employed by my little school on the hill, he is the least likely to be accused of understanding or enjoying any of the Harry Potter books. In fact, I would have guessed that he had no clue whatsoever who this Harry Potter character is. In essence, the lecture professor reminds me of Hogwart's Professor Binns.
So imagine our collective surprise when Professor Binns, er, the lecture professor casually mentioned that he owns a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, thanks to a good friend of his in the publishing industry, and that he has already been reading this book to his grandson at bedtime for one week. Immediately, all whining ceased. Silence descended upon the lab like a blanket dropping from the heavens. We were thunderstruck, especially when Professor Binns made it clear that despite our voiced threats of student riots, of student slumber parties held nightly at his house and possible book burglary, he steadfastly refused to tell us who dies in the book, he would not reveal any titbit about the story nor would he even breathe one word about the book to us (except to lean closer to me and admit in a conspiratorial sort of way that "the plot has many surprising twists and turns").
We all stared at him silently, mouths open in wonder at the unfairness of it all. The only sounds to be heard in the lab came from the boiling water necessary to one of our experiments and the rapid, cheery songs from the Northern mockingbird standing in the tree outside the window. After a moment of silence, I delivered my suddenly less-than-inspiring lecture about the many wonders of carbon chemistry.
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