The Force is Strong in This One

So it’s Star Wars Day. May the 4th what have you. I didn’t do anything in particular for the day last year, but I regretted it. This year, I’m watching at least A New Hope on the old non remastered VHS, of which I own 3 copies, can’t be too careful. But, I thought this would be a good opportunity to show people what Star Wars means to me and to kick off a new section I’m hoping to do weekly referred to as the “Nerditorial”.

So, yeah, I’m a nerd. A big one. Especially where Star Wars is involved. Let’s take a trip through the past and examine my love for Star Wars. First off, I was born in ’90 so I didn’t get to take part of the original theatrical releases or get any of the original action figures or involve myself in anyway with that good stuff. But my family owned the remastered VHS trilogy, the ones where Lucas has interviews at the start of each film.

At the time of watching it, I recall I was confused why I was watching a gray haired man talk when I was promised lots of space lasers and action. As a kid I never paid attention to those interviews, but I really enjoyed the films. They were probably my favorite. Like all kids I had a “goto” movie, and it was Empire Strikes Back, I loved the AT-ATs at the beginning and seeing these other little ships zoom around with tow cables to trip them was fascinating. But as a kid, it was just that, my favorite movie, I had little exposure to it otherwise.

My Christmas when I was 6 I believe, I received a ton of star wars action figures. As well as an X-Wing that made Artoo noises and the modified YT-1300 Corellian Freighter belonging to a certain scoundrel and his Wookie copilot. I speak of course of the beloved Millenium Falcon. Best Christmas ever. I remember going to bed sometimes with those action figures which eventually resulted in some broken hands and stuff like that, but I didn’t care, they were mine and they were Star Wars.

Just within the past couple of years I sold all of those toys, still in mostly good shape, obviously they were well loved and played with though. I liked the idea of some other kid getting those toys and thinking they were a passage to dozens of different planets and adventures featuring the Force.

Anyway, then episode 1 came out, I was still a young kid, it was before my dad’s accident. He wanted to take me and we all went. I loved it, granted I’ve a few issues with it now, but it’s still Star Wars, and I certainly loved it without hesitation then. My dad had his accident shortly after that, I remember I had to see Attack of the Clones with my big sis from the “Big Brothers, Big Sisters” program. And then I saw Revenge of the Sith a few times in theaters.

However, it was sometime after episode 1 my love for Star Wars shot through the roof. My dad had his accident and even after he awoke from the coma, we were still spending lots of time in the hospital, then subsequently the nursing home. I needed things to distract me, so I took up reading. My mom would take me to the downtown library every now and again and eventually I would stumble on “Tales of the Bounty Hunters” a collection of short stories from different authors featuring those that do best in a “wretched hive of scum and villainy”.

Then I wanted more books featuring these characters I loved as a kid. I had spent some of my birthday money to get 3 of the “New Essential Guides” to various star wars things, I don’t rightly recall which 3, characters, vehicles and weapons I think. And I took those books everywhere. On the covers of the new ones it reads “Updated for the Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and The New Jedi Order!”

The first two I recognized as the newest Star Wars movies, the third struck me as odd. Perusing through more Star Wars books later on I found out it was a series of books. So, I of course bought the first, Vector Prime. I’ll be honest, I never went through the full series, I read like the first 6 or 7 books, that was it. But it was captivating, it allowed me an escape from the world where my dad was more than just handicapped and more than that it allowed me escape from the bullies.

I was bullied a lot in middle school, A LOT. I’m talking randomly punched in the face, shoved against lockers, used condoms thrown at you, take your lunch away kind of bullied. But Star Wars helped me.

The bus rides were the worst by far. Bus driver didn’t give two shits if a kid was being assaulted on his bus or anything else for that matter. That was pretty frequent unfortunately. Amidst all the name calling and slaps to the face, choke holds and wads of gum or lollipops being flung into my hair, I remembered Star Wars.

Sometimes they’d ask me rhetorical questions where I would get the bad result regardless. I would just talk about Star Wars, at first it perplexed them and bought me moments of reprieve while their brute brains tried to discern what I just said to them. Was it an insult? They couldn’t comprehend.

Soon though that lost its novelty, but I continued to do it. It was partially about defiance and partially about being proud of these things I loved. When I would get accosted in whatever variety, I might pretend I was Luke Skywalker and merely being put through trials. I would imagine I could feel the flow of the Force and it would sustain me long enough to get home where I could then fall apart. I would remind myself of various trivia to put my mind somewhere else, escape what I was enduring. Han Solo has a DL-44 Heavy Blaster, don’t you forget that.

Between my father’s accident and my constant bullying, I had a dire need to escape. And that’s just what Star Wars could provide. Now, I’m older, a bit more mature, my interests slightly more refined. I sit at a desk with two monitors placed on it, behind there is a wall covered in Star Wars action figures and memorabilia. I have a Star Wars designer watch just to my left of the keyboard. On the inside of my door, mounted to it is Boba Fett from the re-release of the movies in the theaters, it’s one of those cardboard standees. Glancing behind me at my bookshelf yields a couple dozen star wars books, some read, some not, my Star Wars RPG books, a few figures from the Star Wars X-Wing miniature tabletop game (which is effing fantastic) and a few more star wars action figures. I have star wars variants of common board games, including Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, a measuring cup set my friend got me that stacks together to make Artoo. I have dozens of those burger king toys and a few of the watches. I have star wars pins from various events. I have lots of star wars comics and posters and other things that are easy for me to forget about, but I know one thing, Star Wars is part of me, who I am, it’s a culture and way of life, and I’m glad to say that.

Whoo, that was long winded, but I think a good entry to the Nerditorial, hope you had fun reading it and of course, May the Force be with you!

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