A WOW-ing Literary Reference

My husband and I occasionally have dates nights where we drink Gin & Tonics and play World of Warcraft (Yeah, I know one of these things is not like the other.) What can I say? We may be nerds, but we’re classy about it.

Anyway, WOW is actually a heck of a lot of fun. And let’s face it; these days playing WOW is pretty mild in nerdom.  I’m mean it’s not like we are LARP-ing (Live Action Role Playing) those guys are hard core. Although, we did attend a murder mystery dinner that involved us dressing up and playing as our assigned characters, but that’s completely normal.

I digress. Scott and I were playing WOW and when you get to a certain level you can fight random dudes to get experience, but also mega loot.  So here we are roaming around, and Scott says:

“Oh! Let’s go fight the bull.  We can get cool shit.”

“Ok!”

So I run with Scott up to this bull who happens to be sitting under a tree surrounded by flowers and the bull’s name is Ferdinand! I was all,

“Dude, that’s Ferdinand the Bull.”

“Yeah…his name is Ferdinand.”

“No dude, it’s from a children’s book called The Story of Ferdinand.  He’s a bull that doesn’t want to fight. He just wants to sit under a tree and smell the flowers.”

“Oh! Well, that’s interesting… Are you ready?”

“Ready for what?”

“To kill the bull.”

“What!?! I can’t kill Ferdinand the pacifist bull.  Are you crazy?”

“But you get loot. That’s why he’s here.”

“This is a moral dilemma.”

“What is?  Killing a bull in a fantasy game?”

“No… Well… Yes. But I think I’m more befuddled as to whether I should send Blizzard a letter of appreciation, applauding the genius of designing a bull to sit under a tree with flowers named Ferdinand.  Or if I should be writing a rage quit letter about destroying people’s childhoods, by making a target of Ferdinand the flower-smelling bull.”

“Oh…”

“I also feel that I should write a tersely worded e-mail to your mother and all of your elementary school teachers for not having read you The Story of Ferdinand.  I mean seriously.  You were about to charge in and kill this bull without getting the simultaneous horror and comedy of it.

Blank stare.  I think it was at this moment my husband became slightly less than enthused about my reading addiction.  To my ever-lasting shame we did slay Ferdinand, but he popped right back up under his tree. Because, ya know, it’s a fantasy game and re-spawning is a thing, which I guess made it slightly less terrible.

I did finally decide to applaud Blizzard for this little literary nod because it was pretty nifty to see such a cleverly placed reference that book lovers can secretly relish. Even if it is in a fantasy world where I’m running around as a gnome sorceress with a mean frost bolt.

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A Paper Desire

When I was in grade school every few months or so the teacher would pass out these booklet flyers things on newsprint from Scholastic, and it always felt like the world was filled with unimaginable possibilities.  I would scour the pages and dream of having a new book in my hands.

On one of these occasions we were given an extra insert about joining the Scholastic book club.  There was a monthly member fee, but you would receive two books in the mail every month.  The books would be suited for the student’s age.

I think I must have been only in first or second grade.  All the details are a bit fuzzy, but I remember wanting it so very much that after the idea was pitched to my parents I was sent off to my room so they could discuss it. I think they wanted to discuss it sans puppy dog eyes.

I vaguely remember trying to listen through the door to their conversation without much success.  However, the final verdict was that I would be allowed to join.  It was a triumphant moment, and I received books every month for several years before my parents and I decided to stop.

At that point, they were sending me two chapter books a month and I wasn’t able to keep up with reading all of them due to school work and activities.  But I remember a lot of those books; particularly those from the early years.  I probably remember them because I read them over and over and over again.  I was especially a fan of the book called Underwear. I also thoroughly enjoyed No Dogs Allowed and Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm.

Actually, I think my parents still have most of these books.  They are just packed away now.  I can’t imagine my mom getting rid of them.  She has a soft spot for these as much as I do.

It was also due to a Scholastic order mix up that I ended up discovering Harry Potter before it became the craze that it did.  One of the things that Scholastic did was enable students to purchase books at the end of the school year, so when you came back to school in the fall there would be books waiting for you.  I had convinced my mom to get me an Amber Brown book at the end of my 5th grade year all the popular girls were into them so when I came back to sixth grade (just across the hall from my fifth grade classroom), I could pick it up.

However, when I asked my former 5th grade teacher about it.  She said that some sort of error had occurred. By the time realized it, they were out of the Amber Brown book I had ordered.  In a pinch, she had picked me another one called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was less than pleased with this news, but thanked her anyway.

Well I’m sure you all know the end to that story. Love…true book love. I guess it was just a happy accident.

Those Scholastic flyers were the best, and I was excited to learn that they still send them out to school children today.  They still print them on the same newsprint and the ink still has a certain haziness to it.  And it seems that kids still get excited to take them home and try to pitch to their parents why they will simply die if they don’t get the books they believe they vitally need.

It’s wonderful to know that somethings don’t change because they don’t need to.  Thank you Scholastic for being the rock of the children’s book world.

Does anybody else remember these magical flyers?