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I have a very clear picture in my head of a drive in theater when I was nine years old. My Dad and his current girlfriend had taken me and my siblings out to see a double feature, first ‘My Body Guard’, a movie with a young Adam Baldwin, and then ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. I remember every moment of that movie on that enormous screen. My bickering siblings faded into the background, my slightly drunk father who only occasionally looked in on the station wagon full of kids might well have not existed. The planet of Hoth, the taun tauns, Han Solo and Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, the Millenium Falcon, the droids, Chewbacca, and of course, Yoda became in those short hours the focus of my young world. I could almost smell the eviscerated taun taun when Han saved Luke’s life. I could feel the cold snow of Hoth, despite the August heat, and I was as excited as I have ever been when the Millenium Falcon was dodging asteroids. I thought I myself was betrayed when I found out that Darth Vader was Luke’s father. I cried when Han Solo was frozen in carbonite.
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My life was changed forever. My dreams of being someday married suddenly included a sarcastic, vest wearing pilot, who was the best shot in the galaxy. Then they included beinga sarcastic, vest wearing pilot who was the best shot in the galaxy. Like Yoda, I did speak. Being annoying to my family, I was. Every even vaguely light-saber like object became a light saber in my imagination, though I wasn’t stupid enough to try to hit my brothers with it (they were Darth Vaders). When the third movie came out, it was…its hard to describe the anticipation, the waiting, the excitement. I spent my allowance to go see it as often as I could. I was still young enough that the movie could do no wrong.
As I got older and other things took precedence in my life- having a job, saving for college, sports and high school- my love of Star Wars didn’t leave me. Even though I no longer played with many toys, I still collected figures and I have all the Star Wars glasses from Burger King save one (broken, great tragedy), and some from Pepperidge Farms. Occasionally, when decisions came up in my mind to go one direction or the other, a question would form: What would Yoda do? Go to college, he would. Major in art, he would. Any time life would get me down, I would watch my newest copy of ‘Empire Strikes Back’, still my all time favorite movie. It’s like comfort food. In the end, I compiled a few basic rules to live my life.
One: Always listen to your ‘gut’. If you have a really bad feeling about it, there’s a reason. If it feels like a million voices suddenly crying out in pain, it probably is. Your feelings, you will listen to.
Two: Don’t wait till someone is being frozen in carbonite to tell them that you love them. You never know when that last moment is going to come, so don’t waste all the others. Be expressive, you will.
Three: Handle surprises like ‘Luke, I’m your father’ with grace, and always follow your conscious, even when it means falling to your death in Cloud City. A jedi, you will be.
Four: Be at peace. Don’t let the little things, or the big things, ruin your life. You don’t need to be rich to live well. Enjoy what you have and peace you will find.
I do know one or two people of my age group that don’t care for Star Wars in any of the incarnations. They have never read any of the books, owned any of the toys, only seen the movies under duress, and in general, are gits. Its not their fault. They just don’t get it, have not been bathed in the neon, noisy glow of a light saber. They ask, What would Jesus do? And that’s okay. He was pretty cool too, but I don’t have any of the action figures.
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