For nerds, there is nothing quite like a midnight release. It is our Super Bowl. Grinnellians compare stress levels and page counts. Nerds compare midnight release experiences. The privileged feeling you get a few hours later, knowing that no one else has seen or read what you have, that’s like crack for us.
Two years ago, I bought “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” at midnight in Canada, simply so that I could get the British edition. Well, and because the nearest bookstore in rural upstate New York took me across the border to Brockville, Ontario.
Normally, I’d just take the boat over and call in to Customs. But there were two problems. One, my 14-foot outboard motor boat had no lights. Two, docking in the harbor isn’t free after 9 p.m.
Being cheap, I drove. The customs officer on the international bridge was less surprised than I might have hoped. So much for getting any
affirmation of my nerdiness. Even worse, I wasn’t even the first one there. Two Canadian teenagers—sisters who had been first in line at this bookstore since the fourth book—and an American doctor with his devoted 14-year-old daughter had beaten me.
We killed time by discussing each other’s governments, sharing pizza and soda. Other people started showing up around 11 p.m., a number of whom found it necessary to remind me that not all Canadians are named Alanis or Avril.
I was the third person in Brockville to buy the book and the second person to drive back across the border with it. Six hours later, I went downstairs for breakfast. Grandma remarked that I was up early when actually, I had finished Harry Potter instead of sleeping. I was not allowed to talk to anyone for several days.
So I’ve got transportation issues, international camaraderie, free pizzas and excessive fan speculation. One problem, though: no costumes! It’s my biggest shame as a nerd—I have never dressed up for a midnight release, and therefore cannot count myself as a supernerd, no matter how many lines I can quote or how many times I’ve read a book.
Luckily, May 1st brings “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and on May 8th, Star Trek arrives. And I’m finally prepared with costumes for both.
After dissolving into fangirl squeals during the first trailer showing Gambit, the card-throwing Cajun, I realized my chance had finally come. I have in my dresser a black turtleneck with the magenta and blue trademark and the Sharpie abs. In my closet, there’s a floor-length trenchcoat. I’ve already destroyed a deck of cards by throwing half of them at drunk people at Harris, and I have a lighter to fake my mutant powers.
Sophomore year for Mary B. James, the Captain (Anna Werner ’09) and I dressed as Captain Picard and Commander Riker, so I’ve already got the full Star Fleet uniform. Yes, it’s the wrong era for this movie, but I don’t care. It’s Star Trek; time travel is never out of the question.
While a midnight release at The Strand full of Grinnellians might not measure up to the epic nature of the final Harry Potter, but a costume brings it close. Besides, if you won’t dress up like a mutant or a Star Fleet commander for your favorite cultural obsession, is it really worth it?