Last week marked the end of an era for millions of light phaser-toting, drab garb-wearing, fake asthma-breathing Star Wars fans. As the faces of Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor passed between living walls of screaming fans at the premiere of the final Star Wars episode, I breathed an audible sigh of relief. Goodbye, Luke. May the Force be with you. And good riddance.
As a rather detached observer happily staking my claim on the sidelines of science fiction frenzies nation-wide, I watched the glut of media reports with quiet disdain. Although the whole concept of good people battling darker forces has its appeal, I find myself continually amazed at the lengths to which fans will go to declare their allegiance to the Force.
I heard a radio interview of one guy who'd been camping out in front of a California theatre for weeks so he could be twelfth in line to buy his ticket on opening night. I'm sorry, but all I could think of is, why couldn't he just wait and go the next night? I mean, he'd have to quit his job to do something like that!
Then, there was an old acquaintance of mine, grinning from the front page of a local newspaper, sporting his $500 and three-weeks-in-the-making Star Wars costume. I wish I still had his number. I have a really good use for that $500.
Obviously, I just don't get it. I'm not with the Force or on the light side or whatever it is Luke was always blathering about. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate one aspect of the Star Wars insanity. I can say I do appreciate the laughs in what would otherwise be more boring news about Iraq, the falling dollar and how business professionals can't get hired, but there are plenty of jobs in the service industry. Enough of that crap. Bring on the crazies.
But seriously, perhaps now that we have walked a mile in ol' Darth Vader's shoes, and have a sense of kinship with him despite the pure evil he became, we can happily go on about the more pressing business of American life.
So, for those die-hard fans hoping for the resurrection of Star Wars fantasies on the small screen, I thought I would indulge myself with some suggestions of how you can pass the time until the next blessed event.
*Invent a recycling process for the millions of Star Wars' Happy Meal toys that will be discarded a few weeks from now. There are people dying for want of an alternative energy source, you know.
*Create a living monument to the Star Wars tradition with the thousands of people who would rather quit their jobs than go see Star Wars the night after opening night. They could hold placards that read: "The Force will be with you if you let me work for food."
*Write a screenplay about a young man who saw the first Star Wars movie, became inspired and then grew up to fight the forces of evil in the world. Call it, "Mr. Bush Goes to Washington."
*Finally, if none of these ideas appeal to you, there is one last resort: Move out of your parent's basement, get a job, and instead of spending money on bills, save it for the special edition DVD collection likely to hit stores by Christmas. The Force knows, George Lucas' will need every dime of it to cover his special effects bills.