Snape For A Day
a teacher with greasy black hair, a hooked nose and sallow skin.
It will feel strange to walk into a room and know that this is the first impression I create. There is no room for self-delusion, though; J.K. Rowling has made it clear. That said, I’d still like to do it. As long as I can avoid the Deathly Hallows, I’d like to be Severus Snape – as channeled by the brilliant Alan Rickman – for one day, preferably a Monday.
Sure, we all have our secrets, but how will it feel to be so awfully complex? Haughty, mysterious, lonely, shrewd, spiteful, loyal, obsessive, loving, brave – how will people react when I sit beside them on the bus? I don’t think they’ll read over my shoulder. I’m quite sure they won’t jam me with their umbrellas or cough on my knees. Evanesco!
There will be no more rubber-faced surprise. I’ll stop blubbering at sad movies. Snape is, after all, the master of stillness. Control your emotions. Emotion expert, Paul Ekman, notes we have 43 facial muscles, most of which move outside of our awareness. Snape, however, is well in control of his minimalist expressions. I’ll now be able to convey all that anyone needs to know with a slight cock of the head and a perfect arch of the brow. Discipline your mind.
As Snape, I will no longer chatter with excitement. Every single word will be painstakingly chosen, savored and fully articulated. My hand might just sli-pp over your morning pumpkin juice. When greeted with a distasteful announcement – Look who’s come back to give us another motivational speech! – I’ll no longer try to conceal my displeasure. Instead, I’ll slowly lift my hands and give 3 – just 3 – joyless claps while grimacing and staring straight ahead.
That Monday, I’ll do my best to rock a black robe. I’ll flourish it like a toreador – sweeping in, sweeping out, knocking over anything that stands in my path. Will people think I’m rude? I won’t care; I’m Snape. I will show no signs of wanting to be liked. My word, Severus, that I shall never reveal the best of you. If you insist…
If I’m presenting to a group, I won’t spend any time fussing over the details. I’ll storm in, slam the curtains and darken the lights. There will be no introductions, no happy preamble, no warming the room. Turn to page three hundred and ninety four. but but but Turn to page three hundred and ninety four.
What will it feel like to show little concern with being fair, to punish overachievement? Do you take pride in being an insufferable know- it-all? Will that make me feel better, or worse, about all of the painful Snivellus memories – the childhood bullying, the unrequited love, the job slights?
I’ll start begging for Monday midnight if the ill-earned blame starts flying my way – for the burning scar, the Quidditch cursing, the cold-blooded murder. Could I shoulder so much undeserved hate for so long if it was for the better good? I’m not sure I could. Thankfully, Tuesday will come and I can shed my Snape. I’ll be relieved and a great deal wiser.
Written by Elizabeth Newton