The post title was a challenge texted to me by my husband. I didn’t make it through an entire story, but I managed a character sketch:
“Joel, you’d be a Ravenclaw, wouldn’t you?” My kid sister Rita was having an intense conversation about the houses she and her friends would be sorted into at Hogwarts. Why did she have to drag me into it?
“No,” I didn’t look up from my homework, “ I don’t think so. I’m not that smart. I just work hard.”
“Ah, then a Gryffindor,” said Julie. Her brown eyes always looked sad, like she was on the verge of crying. I think it was just the way they were shaped, but I still tried to keep her from tipping over the edge into tears.
“Nah,” I shook my head, they almost made me forget to carry the one. This math homework was easy to do if they would stop interrupting me. “I figure I’d be a Slytherin.”
“Slytherin! No way!” Rita jumped up from the table. “You can’t be a Slytherin, they are the bad guys.”
“No dark wizard has come from any other house!” Julie chimed in, nodding.
“But that doesn’t mean all Slytherin are bad,” I said, circling the number 42 as the answer to question 12 and putting down my pencil to look at the girls. “Slytherin is typified by ambition. Ambition isn’t a bad thing. It’s when you don’t care what you have to do – or who you have to hurt – to reach your goal that you’re a bad guy.”
“So you say you’re Slytherin because you’re ambitious?”
“Yes,” I sighed, this math homework was just the first of my assignments, and these kids were going to drive me nuts. “I’m hard-working. I’m not the smartest kid in my class, but I always do all of my homework. I always study hard. I’m not the bravest kid, and I’m not the most loyal friend.” Heck, I don’t even have any friends. “But I am ambitious. I do want to make something of myself.”