Spelling Counts


Were it not for all the delusional people we have to write about, newspapers would be 80 percent blank every day. (The remaining 20 percent would continue to be reserved for articles about Martha Stewart.) So today we will talk a little about some insane people, especially as they relate to witchcraft.

Let us first speak of Kevin Carlyon, who as you surely know is the high priest of the British Coven of White Witches. (You know this because he has twice appeared on the cover of White Witches Monthly, which you subscribe to.) Two years ago, when Swedish scientist Jan Sundberg was planning to capture the famed and non-existent Loch Ness Monster, Carlyon placed a “blocking spell” on the imaginary creature to protect it. Nessie has appeared very infrequently since then, perhaps because of the spell but perhaps also because she is not real.

So now Carlyon is traveling back to Scotland to remove the spell so that Nessie can, as he told the BBC, “come back again and thrill the public,” because surely nothing excites a crowd more than standing next to a marshy, foggy lake and pretending to see something.

Carlyon said, “I left the protection spell running and now I want to undo it slightly so Nessie can make an appearance.”

It is things like this that make me glad I do not have supernatural powers. I am often worried enough about leaving the door unlocked, or the TV on, or my car windows down. If I had to worry about leaving a spell running, I’d worry myself into a coma (unless, of course, the spell in question was a coma-prevention spell).

Speaking of wizards and delusional people, last week’s release of the fifth Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Huge Pile of Money,” inspired many insane idiots to complain about the “occult” material contained within those books. One of them posted a lengthy diatribe at HarkTheHerald.com, where being an insane idiot is almost a prerequisite for posting, in which he asserted that the current Utah drought is God’s punishment because so many children read the “evil” Harry Potter books.

Now, there’s no need to write in and scold this person (who of course remained anonymous, that being the other prerequisite to post anything on HarkTheHerald.com). Dozens of other people have already done that, including one who observed that such craziness is part of life, adding, “c’est la vie,” spelling it “se la vi.” (Our readers apparently have no problem with spells; it is spell-check they object to.)

The Harry Potter thing is a phenomenon, that’s for sure. The hundreds of people who were with me at the Orem Media Play at midnight last Friday can attest to that. Some of them were even dressed as Potter characters, which was very cute, especially in the sense of “cute” that means “weird.”

But an EVIL phenomenon? Heavens, no. The people who feel that way generally do so on the basis that the book, in dealing with sorcery and magic, is somehow TEACHING sorcery and magic to young readers. And they make a strong argument. I mean, those books are packed with page after page of intricate, detailed instructions on contacting the Dark Lord Satan, learning his will, and doing his bidding.

No, wait. I have confused the Harry Potter books with Hillary Clinton’s “Living History.” The Harry Potter books don’t have any of that stuff. They have passing references to very simple spells, most of which contain Latin-sounding words that indicate what they do. For example, characters say, “Lumos,” and their wand-tips light up. Walk around saying “Lumos” all day, nothing’s going to happen. It’s not an evil word, and saying it a lot won’t grant you access to any supernatural powers. I know, because I have tried, when I was trying to light the pilot on my oven.

So to all the delusional people reading this — and you probably don’t know who you are — get over yourselves. The Loch Ness Monster will begin existing when she’s good and ready, and the only thing evil about the Harry Potter books is how heavy they are. So quit worrying about it. But please, don’t stop being delusional. Your antics provide respite from the nonstop Martha Stewart coverage. And that’s a good thing.

I was not yet aboard the Harry Potter train when the fourth book came out, so book five provided my first experience with full-steam Pottermania. It was rather interesting to be part of such a large crowd, and fun to see so many people besides myself carrying the book around for weeks thereafter. It's like being part of a big club.

I haven't read Hillary Clinton's book, nor can I imagine any circumstances under which I would read it, nor do I think she's evil. It just seemed like a good joke to make.

Oh, and this was during the time that Martha Stewart was on trial and going to jail and stuff, hence the reference to her ubiquity in the newspapers.