I would like to begin by stating — for the record — that I know what year it is.
I know it’s 2017, I know that next year will be 2018 and I know that last year was 2016. But, for whatever reason, when I hear any date in the 90’s, I think it was only 10 years ago.
Mathematically, I realize this makes no sense. It’s just the way my brain works or, more accurately, doesn’t work.
1999? Yeah, that was 10 years ago. 1997? Yep, also 10.
It’s some sort of a weird linear blurring that takes place in my thought process — similar to how anyone younger than me is always referred to as “like 12.”
This is why when I see certain dates or anniversary announcements, they tend to catch me off guard.
Such was the case this week when I found out Harry Potter was 20-years-old.
How can this be?
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published two decades ago — and it’s blowing my mind. Twenty years? How did that much time slip by so fast?
Now, if I really stop and think about it then it gets easier for me to wrap my head around but that initial announcement always throws me for a loop.
By the time the Boy Who Lived first caught my attention, the author J.K. Rowling was well into the series — book three I believe. As its popularity grew, I decided to pick up the first one as a gift for my little brother.
There’s almost an 11-year age gap between me and my youngest brother, Thomas. So when I was 21 and living in New Orleans, he was still a 10-year-old kid. When I came to visit him and my Dad, I would bring him little presents, in this case, the book.
Every night during my visit I would read to him at bed time, chapter by chapter. But as we got deeper into the story, I would find myself continuing to read long after he had fallen asleep.
I couldn’t help myself, it was such a cool story and when I returned home, I went out to the bookstore and bought the next two in the series.
Eventually, like everyone else, I became hooked on Harry Potter and when the first movie was released, I was the first in line.
Now, Thomas is no longer that little boy that I read bedtime stories to. He a grown man with a wife and a house and job. And while I don’t think of him as 10-years-old, for some reason when it comes to that book, I do.
Harry Potter was one of those rare things that come along and enrapture an entire generation before permanently embedding itself into the culture.
It’s not a fad or a weird little blip in entertainment history — Harry Potter is here to stay.
Few other franchises have endeared themselves to the public in such a way — in fact, the only other one I can even think of is Star Wars.
When Rowling penned that first book, she couldn’t possibly have had any idea the effect it would have or how huge it was to become.
And 20 years later, the Harry Potter books are just as relevant to kids today as they were to their parents who read it for the first time in the 90’s.
You know, 10 years ago …