If Harry Potter Was Written for Middle-Aged Men
A horrible realization occurred to me the other day while I was speaking with someone on the bus. "Did you see my column last week?" the conversation began, as indeed all my conversations do. "It was a pretty good one I think. What was your favorite line? I'll tell you what mine was." Later, when I joined him at the front of the bus after he'd decided to switch seats, and we'd started arguing about personal boundaries (as indeed all my conversations end) it hit me: I may not be as important as I'd previously assumed. Although I own shoes and electricity and many other trappings of success, the sad fact remains that I have yet to earn millions of dollars or international acclaim or speedboats from the practice of my craft. Clearly something had to change. I thanked the stranger with an enormous wet kiss, and left the bus to find my fortune. Outside of a daring jewel heist while wearing a dick-joke themed costume, I decided the easiest way for me to earn a fortune with my writing was to create the next bestselling book series. I realized that two of the most recent successes, the Harry Potter and Twilight series, followed very similar formulas which could easily be copied. They took long standing fantasy elements and reinvented them, creating shamelessly escapist stories targeted at very specific audiences - in those cases children and teenage girls with fourth grade reading comprehension. The formula was easy enough, but could I write that well also? I thunk I could. After a bit of brainstorming, I decided the demographic currently most in need of escapist fantasy were middle-aged men. Under pressure from tiring careers, family obligations and enlarged prostates, this was clearly a demographic that could use an escape. And I noted they were woefully under served by the existing escapism service industry; these men were too old to find video games accessible, too young to experience the delights of senility, and likely to burst into flames if made to watch a
Sex and the City movie.
As for the "disused fantastic element" that would be reinvented, I eventually settled on Space Adventure. Remember that this is the generation that watched the moon landing happen--every one of these men grew up pretending to be astronauts firing laser guns at space lizards and driving rocket ships off huge ramps. Now obviously space based fiction has never really gone out of fashion. But it has gotten a lot less fun. These days most fiction that features spaceships gets all tied up with that moral and philosophical bullshit that science fiction writers insist on putting in their stories when their editors tell them to delete all those scenes with the sex robots. I reasoned that all my book had to do was keep the space, put the sex robots back in, axe the undergraduate philosophy lecture and crank up the fun. Add a middle aged schlub who yearns for a better life, and maybe add a few more sex robots and I would have a Grammy award winning turbonovel.
Anyway, I figured that out on Saturday. It turns out that becoming the undisputed master of middle-aged fantasy takes a little more than three days, so I've only finished a few scenes since then, and have picked out some of the most spell-checked ones below for your enjoyment. I'd offer to show you the rest next week, but I kind of doubt there will be a column next week, as by that point I expect to be ridiculously wealthy, partying on my yacht and maybe high-fiving a cool black guy.
Chapter 2 - Sunglass Hut
Harry exhaled deeply as he entered the Lakewood Centre that morning. This branch had gone through three store managers in the past two year, and he wasn't optimistic that number was done rising. Entering the store, his experienced eyes began noticing tons of bullshit not done. Then he felt the Sadness, the feeling that crept over him when he realized that managing Sunglass Huts was something he was good at.
"Randall, how many times have I fucking told you to keep the fingerprints under control?" Harry barked at the slope shouldered store manager. "When was the last time you cleaned these? It looks like you've been wiping your ass on them. And why the hell aren't the new Pradas on the middle shelf like they're supposed to be?" Randall gave a sort of halfhearted shrug, the look of a man who didn't give a monkey's damn about sunglass sales - a look that Harry envied. "Is this a job you can handle or not?" Randall responded by leaning way back, tilting his head to face the ceiling, then uncoiling his body and thrusting it forward, violently spitting on Harry from a distance of about two-feet away. Why did everyone always quit that way? Was that normal? That actually hurt. ____________________