My own Slug Club

Nerd alert, nerd alert.  There will be Harry Potter references in this post.  And not just Harry Potter references, but secondary character Harry Potter references that require you to have not just watched the movies, but remember small details.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I like to compare myself to fictional characters.  I know that I am not alone in this pursuit, but I think I may go overboard.  I seek out “my” character in every show that I watch, or book that I read.  I’m sure there is some deep psychological reasoning that I do this, maybe it is to help self-awareness for traits I don’t like about myself, or maybe I’m just more of a narcissist than I give myself credit for.   

My latest television series binge rewatching was Parks and Recreation, where I am very much Ben Wyatt.  However, as my wife likes to point out, the main reason I am Ben Wyatt is because, much like Ben, when I am not fully focused on work I get fixated on projects that I think are amazing and world changing.  In these periods of down time I have to ask myself, is this idea that I’m getting a 5 second claymation film, or is it the Cones of Dunshire?  Am I a crazy person who is losing his mind and thinking the idea is much better than it is, or is this a really crazy idea that some people might actually enjoy?

I spent the greater portion of 4 days at home with my son, who had been dealing with a persistent cough and a fever.  At the end of that time I came up with an idea for our newspaper class that I thought was fantastic.  Before I continued with it, I ran it by my newspaper editors just to make sure I wasn’t about to waste time on claymation.  I got a positive response, so maybe it will turn into Cones of Dunshire after all.

Wait a second, didn’t he nerd alert us early on and tell us this would be about Harry Potter?  All he’s talking about is some stupid sitcom. 

Patience, patience.  This is all building somewhere.

There is a running joke in my newspaper class about why most of the students are there.  Yes, there are some students who got to high school interested in journalism, and I happily welcome them into the class.  However, since newspaper is not exactly going to sell itself in this day and age, I have to be a heavy recruiter. I recruit out of our intro to journalism class, I recruit out of my English classes, I have my high functioning staff members recruit their friends who they think would thrive, and I have siblings of former staff members who are told by older brother or sister that this is something with which they need to get involved.

The running joke is that the kids I recruit are all different parts of my personality.  There might be something to that, since I know that I will have to have absolute trust of these students, and who else would I trust but me? I really just recruit kids who I think would thrive in the program and be able to use what we do in their future.

At the beginning of each semester we do an icebreaker activity called press conferences.  The students come up in front of the class and answer three questions about themselves.  The questions have gotten weirder and weirder over time, but the students always have to introduce themselves at the start of their press conference and include why they joined the staff.  Like I said, there are myriad reasons why students join, but ultimately at least two thirds of the students every semester tell the group that they joined because “Stein made me.”

This last semester, as the chorus of “Stein made me” sang throughout the room, I made the connection to another character.  I think I’m Horace Slughorn. (See, I got there eventually.)

For those of you who have shunned all Harry Potter affiliated items, Professor Slughorn was a teacher at Hogwarts who invited students who he thought had potential to special parties to discuss great issues of the day.  He called his group the Slug Club, and it was an elite group which contained some of the best in the wizarding world.

In one of my Ben Wyatt moments, before I could realize I was saying it out loud, I made the declaration to my staff.  I said, “oh my gosh, I think I’m Professor Slughorn.”  There was silence, and then some mumbling, and then a group of Harry Potter fans all joined in to tell me how correct I was.  And of course, the first thing they told me when they realized the similarity, was that we need to have our own version of the Slug Club.

Of course, any normal person would have just ended the day, forgotten the whole thing and moved on with their lives, but as you know from my earlier posts, I’m extra.  I currently have the following searches pulled up on my cell phone; “Slug club menu,” and “thesaurus for club.”

Yes, I’m trying to come up with the Stein version of the Slug club.  Yes, I’m actually potentially trying to replicate the menu of a fictional event that was a minor plot point in the 7 book series.  And yes, I’m really excited about it.

I’m thinking it will just be incorporated into our end of the year banquet in May, rather than as its own separate event, but I’m trying to make it a reality.  I know not everyone on my staff will care, or even find it amusing, but I do like the sentiment around the idea.  I do recruit students to join the staff, and many of them won’t go into journalism after my class.  However, I always want my staff members to know how much I appreciate them along the way, and this will definitely reach a lot of them, even if this is a nerdy way to do it.



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