Todays title says it all really. May the 4th is a day set aside to completely wallow in Star Wars geekery...hence the phrase, "May the 4th be with you." Not that I need a special day to wallow in geekery mind you, it's sort of a 24/7 thing with me and it will always revolve around Star Wars in some way. Yes....it's Star Wars day every day for me.
Given what our family does on YouTube I have been very lucky to find many kindred spirits but...there are also just as many that don't get it at all. You can always tell when someone visits my house, see's our Star Wars collection...and then politely smiles as they back out there door with a look on their face like they just stepped into the something more like Silence of the Lambs. yeah...not everybody gets it.
So I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about how I became a fan and what Star Wars has meant to me over the years. This isn't apologetics...I'm not attempting to make myself look any less fanatical. but hopefully, those of my readers who don't have any connection with a "galaxy far far away" might begin to understand why I feel the way I do...and perhaps why all superfans(Dr. who, Star Trek, Harry Potter etc.) are really just big kids at heart.
Like most boys my age, our first Star Wars memories are of seeing the film for the very first time in the theater. I was about 6 years old when my mom and dad decided to go to a movie with my aunt and uncle to see this new movie that had been all over the news. I was so small that I remember the screen towering over me and I had to crane my head up to see the picture. I don't even remember seeing the movie itself....just the excitement that I had just seen the best thing EVER! And even after seeing it only once, I knew all the characters and the theme song, which had now become the soundtrack for my life. My six year old brain lit up like a Christmas tree and every dream I had was about being in a galaxy far far away and flying through space on an adventure with Luke and the rest of the heroes.
That was most boys my age. every boy at my school wanted to play Star Wars at recess and even though everybody loves the bad guy today, then we fought over who got to be Luke, Han, and Chewie....any kid that got stuck being Darth Vader was pissed. But we chased each other around making blaster noises and arguing over who pretend killed who first. At home we would put cards in the spokes of our bikes and instead of pretending they were engines, it was X-wing fighters flying off to do battle in space.
And then there were the toys. My first figure ever was of Greedo...a very obscure background character from the cantina scene. I remember begging, bargaining, and desparately reasoning with my Grandma that the price tag of about $2 was actually very reasonable. Eventually she relented and I sat on the front step of my home staring at how Awesome it was before I would even let myself open it. It was the beginning of an addiction that would last my whole life...
Every Christmas I would steal the sears catalog just because the back of it was cram packed with new star wars toys. I would lay in front of the T.V. and stare at it for hours...putting the "wish" in "wish book". My parents never had to guess what I wanted for Christmas because I had circled each item and then pushed that catalog in front of their face anytime I could just to make sure no mistakes would be made. Some of my best birthday memories were of unwrapping the millenium falcon and just about passing out from the sheer excitement of it all.
When the Empire Strikes Back came out I remember an explosion of pure joy that there was another movie. I thought the first one was all there was ever going to be and the fact that there was another just blew my little mind. Then came the Return of the Jedi and the close of the saga. Each new movie had been a surprise that I looked forward to with as much excitement as Christmas itself. Many years later...long after I thought all of the story had been told...George announced that he was making three more movies and I instantly reverted to being seven years old all over again. That same flush of pure excitement washed over me. To this day it remains the same...when Disney announced it would be extending the sage by another five movies, I again turned seven years old and let out a squee of excitement (well almost a squee...I don't actually squee...really...stop looking at me like that.) Star Wars can bring out that wide eyed, joyful kid in me every time.
Star Wars meant fun...it meant adventure...it meant that there was something wonderful to life that all you had to do was look to the stars to see. It made my childhood a blast. It was forever cemented in my heart as much as it was woven into memories of happier times. From 1977 to 1983 it had been the stuff of my dreams and my constant companion....but eventually all good things had to come to an end. With Return of the Jedi, the saga was proclaimed finished and Star Wars became a relic of my childhood. My parents divorced...I grew up...became a teen and then a young man. I moved out on my own...came out of the closet and met my first boyfriend. By 1995 I was an adult. You would think that would have killed my obsession with Star Wars right?......well....
1995 also saw the re-release of new Star Wars action figures from Kenner. At the time they were only available at my local comic shop and when I first laid eyes on them I went from 22 years old to seven again in no time flat. It was like an excitement I had thought lost to time had suddenly come back and I think I just stood there in utter shock before I could believe what I was seeing. It turned out that my boyfriend at the time ended up giving them to me as a birthday present and I felt like a kid all over again. I have been collecting non-stop ever since.
In fact it was running around looking for new Star Wars figures that was one of the very first things that my husband Jay and I did together. As George announced the prequels, it was both of us that gave a manly squee and then waited together in insanely long lines to see the movies at midnight the night before their release. We have gone to midnight Star Wars sales at Toys R' Us and gone to conventions together.....it is amazing just how much Star Wars has helped to bond us together.I don't think my seven year old self would have ever imagined that would be the outcome of riding around my neighborhood pretending to blow up tie fighters. I would marry another Star Wars geek...he would be a boy...and we would spend our lives dreaming of Star Wars together.....Who knew?
Star Wars has woven in and out of all the important parts of my life. That it is something that I enjoy and keeps me feeling like a kid inside is only a part of the story. You can not tell the story of my life without also including it (preferably with the soundtrack). So this is how the monster got made. When people ask me if I am a Star Wars fan I always tell them no....I am a FANATIC! And because I know what it feels like, I understand what drives fans of other franchises like Star Trek, Disney, Dr. Who.....And yes, even my daughters favorite.....*sigh*....Justin Beiber.
Being a geek over something you love does not make something wrong with you. It can add color to a world that needs all the joy it can get. Embrace your geeky side, it is a part of what is good about you. And never grow up...it's very over rated.
Happy Star Wars day dear readers...and...until next time....