I had a lull during work last Wednesday. Using my work computer, I proceeded to goof around on the internet and managed to get access to Pottermore, a public internet site for Harry Potter related content. I’ve been reading a lot of Harry Potter to my grandchildren. The moments I get with my grandchildren are wonderful. Harry Potter’s parents were brutally murdered, but I can still find bits of laughter on each page.

I found a section on the site that houses personality-based quiz applications, one being an application that feeds user opinions about inanimate objects into an undefined algorithm and calculates what animal form their patronus would take. A patronus is a spectral figure that secretes from the tip of a wizard wand. It acts similar to how an antidepressant would, but you can choose to leverage your patronus against things that are not yourself. I enjoy fantasy.

I time-boxed this quiz activity and completed the task well within the budgeted time. It was an easy quiz; my youngest grandson could complete this quiz with minimal instruction.

Once the flash animation was completed I saw the image of my patronus. It was Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont. I sent a quick email to my oldest grandson to confirm the types of patronuses he and his younger brothers had.

  • One dog (terrier)
  • One otter (river)
  • One dolphin (sea)

Further questioning exposed that not one of his friends’ patronuses was a sitting United States Senator, or even congressman for that matter. I ended the email discussion with my grandson and logged off my computer.

I thought the situation of having Patrick Leahy as my patronus was quite interesting, because I am also a United States senator. I work with Patrick. He and I are both on the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. He seems like a nice enough guy. A virtuous, hard-working man. Honestly, I haven’t had the chance to get to know him because we’ve just been so darn busy these past few years. But this new information warranted a discussion.

I met Senator Leahy in the break room just after a Perspectives on Child Nutrition Reauthorization Full Committee Hearing.

“Patrick, I’m Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan. I took an online personality assessment that determines the form a person’s patronus takes. The assessment determined that you are my patronus.”

Senator Leahy became red in the ears, as if this information made him embarrassed. He could not keep eye contact. I allowed him to collect his thoughts. After some time, he spoke.

“I’ve got to be honest with you, Debbie. I took that internet quiz, too. And you’re my patronus.”

It was a curious situation. A little comical even.

We fucked really, really hard that day. He felt so bad afterwards that he called his wife from my bedroom phone. I cut the telephone cord before he could apologize to his wife and I can’t seem to remember why I did that. All I remember is walking to my bedroom window and staring at the Capitol Building until morning.

I haven’t taken another test on Pottermore, but I’d sure like to.