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Upset with your book? Call a help line

Shhhhuuuussh … be quiet. Do you hear it? That wispy white sound of turning pages. Feel the slight breeze? Readers everywhere are arriving at the end of Harry Potter and his Hogwartian friends and adversaries. Emotional eruptions are brewing. I can just feel it, and I am left out because I couldn’t get into Harry Potter.
I have heard the rumors that potential plot developments could leave young children adrift in sadness and melancholy. Not to mention their parents. So, can you believe it? There is finally a help line for counseling that you can call. I am sick to miss this opportunity. If you are traumatized by J.K. Rowling’s imagination, there is someone to talk you through it.
My whole life has been a steady progression from one fictionalized trauma to the next. How do you become one of those people who come out of ‘Schindler’s List’ digging happily in their purse for a piece of gum? Are they Stepford people?
Remember ‘Black Beauty’ when Ginger dies? It makes my stomach heave to think about it. I remember reading a book called ‘Beautiful Joe’ about a pitiful dog that gets his tail and ears cut off by a mean owner. Dig that ironic title. That book damaged me. I needed help. I didn’t get it.
This country is being run by a group of people who watched ‘Bambi’ and ‘Old Yeller’ in the theatres with no shot at follow-up counseling. That may be our only excuse. We think of Walt Disney as a fun-type guy with mice and birds that sew, but he caused some real denial issues in a whole bunch of people now in Congress. That scene of Dumbo’s mother in the mad elephant cage swinging her baby through the bars with that cutesy little ‘Baby Mine’ soundtrack playing caused untold Boomers to withdraw, reevaluate and invest in more tangible assets.
There are two instances in my life when I made a real spectacle of myself. You can probably think of others (if so, e-mail me about them), but the first one was on a date in high school to see ‘The Great White Hope.’ James Earl Jones, before Vader, was a prizefighter who had a relationship with a white woman played by Jane Alexander. They were not accepted, of course, in the United States so they felt compelled to go to Mexico where things got worse, and she threw herself down the well in the village plaza when he ordered her to leave him or else. He was doing it for her own good. Right.
I crumbled into a sobbing wreck with a date I really cared about who patted me on the back while asking, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK?’ Through the lobby, out the door, into the car and all the way home.
Years later, my husband and I were in Atlanta for a furniture market where he did some work while I took the subway to a mall. ‘Testament’ was showing at the theatre so I bought a ticket. Jane Alexander plays a mother of three with a husband who leaves for work one morning just before the nuclear holocaust. He is killed out right in the city while those the suburbs will die a slow lingering death of radiation poisoning. Jane tries to keep the neighborhood from disintegrating into chaos, but she can’t. Her children die one by one until her youngest has to be rocked with his teddy bear while drawing his last breath. It doesn’t help that this little guy is a very young Lukas Haas in his first role looking completely innocent and adorable.
I had to hide in the rest room for a while to get a handle on myself, but finally I came out and got on that blasted subway. People were very nice and concerned about me, but I just kept saying between sobs, ‘It was only a movie. Just a movie. Don’t worry about me.’ People in Atlanta are very nice on MARTA.
Actually, I did have someone to call that time. My sister had also seen ‘Testament’ that weekend and spent significant time in a toilet stall, too. We can laugh about it now … sort of. By the way, I noticed that Jane Alexander is starring in ‘Playing for Time’ tonight on Sundance. She is an orchestra conductor of an all-women’s group who play in order to go on living while in a Nazi concentration camp.
You can call 1-020-HOGWART.