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Nerdly passions are well founded

They’ve set the date and I’ve marked it on my calendar: July 16, 2005. J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is then going on sale.

I happily throw my pride to the wind and confess to you all that “Harry Potter” is my new fixation, joining the throngs of “Star Wars,” “Lord of the Rings” and “X-Men” (the actual comic book series, believe it or not). Who’s with me? Yeah!

Go ahead, laugh at me if you want, but I know I’m not alone. We should be proud of our secret obsessions and not feel ashamed. At a healthy level, they’re not only enjoyable, but constructive.

I look forward to July 16, when I will turn each new page in anticipation of seeing young Mr. Potter’s outcome. I’ve been worrying my socks off that Rowling is going to make Harry a martyr while I desperately want to see Harry end happily, complete with a love interest and promising future.

My obsession started last summer when I devoured the first four books in a matter of weeks, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself since.

Just recently, in my search for information on the new book, I came across countless Harry Potter chat rooms, all chock full of the same anticipation and questions that I have, and I was overjoyed.

I spent hours pouring over the entries, as other people (adults, believe it or not) debated and predicted plot twists and possible outcomes just as I do. I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

That is, until I came to an entry saying something like: “This site is SO sad. You all are losers and need to get a life.”

Suddenly, I did find it sad. I found it sad that someone would enter a site full of people who were chatting about something interesting and engaging (even if it concerns a fantasy world of witches, wizards and Hungarian Horntails) just to put them all down and insult them.

Tell me, what exactly is wrong with finding escape from homework, flu season and deadlines for a few minutes into a land of adventure, friendship, danger and…flying broomsticks?

Then, I realized that I’ve done the same thing myself. How many times as I watch movies do I see a thirty- something nerd depicted sitting in their parents’ basement convincing themselves of secret government conspiracies and think to myself, “Really, that’s so sad! I really hope he gets a life sometime soon. He must be miserable!”

What right have we to judge these people at the blink of an eye, when, for all we know, they’re soon going to be making more money than all of us combined when they put their creative minds to productive use, becoming fiction novelists or produce shows resembling “X-Files?” All those hours and days spent pouring over material in his parents’ basements would have been imaginative exercises equal to any class in a university.

Therefore, I admit with pride that I have watched the old “Star Wars Trilogy” since my diaper rash days.

I also affirm that I’ve been reading “X-Men” comic books since my hair saw pigtails and hair barrettes. I’m a long-time defender of the soap opera going on between Gambit and Rogue, along with Jean and Wolverine.

I also confess that I have had more of a crush on Legolas and Boromir (Mmm!) in Lord of the Rings than any cute guys in my classes. I’ve never seen anyone else look better killing blood-thirsty orcs and quoting poetry lyrics than Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean.

I’m just as proud that I keep the fourth “Harry Potter” book sitting above my toilet, just awaiting perusal when the dirty task is longer than my attention span.

“Star Trek” never captured as much of my devotion, but learning Klingon is on my to-do list. Has there ever been a cooler language?

Nerds, bookworms, Trekkies and adults living in their parents’ basements contributing to Harry Potter chat rooms, unite! We’ve been in the closet long enough. Why would we ever let others define us as “sad,” or “losers” just because we have imagination and creativity?

Passions such as these have their place in life, alongside fantasy and dreams. They keep life from getting boring and give us something to look forward to. I’m looking forward to July 16. What are you looking forward to?

Share a Harry Potter fixation? email Jessica at [email protected]

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