I’m The Old Guy Who Loves Star Wars

Since 1977 I have loved Star Wars and everything involving that galaxy far, far away. Like many young men of that time period, I was able to identify with Luke Skywalker in his desire to get away from the farm. Granted I didn’t live on a farm, although I did stay with my grandparents one summer and was tasked with feeding the chickens, stupid animals and I hated it almost as much as Luke probably hated tending moisture vaporaters. I could relate with his desire to do something to change the world he lived in, even though when the opportunity arose he was a little hesitant to go with ObiWan Kenobi.

Even though I could identify with Luke, I really wanted to be Han Solo; the scruffy looking nerf herder, who despite his crusty exterior really had a heart of gold. I remember thinking the first time I saw the Millennium Falcon how it was the coolest space ship I had ever seen, and I would have given anything to been able to go aboard her; something which is going to become a reality in a few years when Disney World opens Star Wars land…and yes, it is on my bucket list.

I was sixteen when I saw Empire Strikes Back, and at the time drove a 1962 Plymouth Valiant with push button transmission. That car would go 55 miles per hour if there was a strong tail wind and going downhill. I can’t count how many times I said, “It isn’t my fault!” to my friends as we drove around Muskogee in my own hunk of junk.

Spoiler alert: I remember how shocked I was when Darth Vader revealed who he really was to Luke after defeating him in a light saber battle. There was an audible gasp throughout the theater as we all felt the horror of Luke’s lineage with him. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the only one to say, “That’s not true. That’s impossible!” I remember it took days and a couple of more trips to the movie theater to actually begin to accept the truth that Darth Vader was Luke’s father.

The thing about Star Wars I really like is the good vs. evil aspect in the story telling. George Lucas (the creator in case you didn’t know who he is) didn’t really write anything new or even especially creative; he took themes from the stories we already knew and just gave them some new window dressing. But man, what cool window dressing it is. Add to this a mystical energy field which surrounds everything and binds the universe together along with laser swords and blasters, how could you not like these movies?

One of the greatest things I have been able to do in my adult life was take my children to the theater to see these movies on the big screen. Much like when I was younger, my kids love this incredible universe given to us by Mr. Lucas. Leading a new generation into the ways of the force is really the only responsible thing any adult can do. After all what better way to teach right and wrong, good and evil and doing the right thing even if you’re a bit of a scoundrel?

As an original fan from the very beginning, let me encourage you to pick up a copy of the movies if you’ve never seen them and binge watch them over the weekend. You’ll be glad you did. And for those of you who are fans and have been, maybe it’s time to get them back out and watch them again. It’s just a thought.

May the force be with you.

 

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Mabookies On Parade

The picture may not be the best quality picture; after all I used my Redneck photo copier to take it, i.e. I took a picture of a picture using my phone, but it is one of my favorite memories from a time long ago. The three people pictured in this photo are me and my friends Terry and Angel, and was taken 16 years ago while on a mission trip in the Philippines. I added the words “Mabookies On Parade” and had it printed for the three or us. We often referred to it as our “album cover” even though we never recorded any music.

The term “mabookie” came from the remastered version of A New Hope (Star Wars episode 4 which is the first movie, but the fourth in the franchise). In it, Jabba the Hutt referred to Han Solo as mabookie and the subtitles defined the term as “my boy”. Terry and I adopted this phrase and began calling each other by this nickname and it took on a life of it’s own. Later we added Angel to the group; even though she’s a girl she was our mabookie too.

One of the reasons I love this picture is because it reminds me of all the laughs we had together. I know you can’t tell from the picture, after all we were making an album cover at the time and were going for the serious artist pose. But when the three of us got together, there was laughter galore.

It probably helped that we were kindred spirits and had the same quirky sense of humor. There have been very few people on this planet who “get me” but these two did and my life is so much better because of them. I believe if every person on this planet had two friends like these the world would be a better place. I’m truly blessed to have been a part of this cadre of fun loving people.

Terry died a few months ago, taking our trio down to a duo, and while it’s been hard with him gone, Angel and I had the opportunity the other night to get together and watch our favorite movie So I Married An Axe Murderer together. It was so nice to have her there with my family; eating, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It was just like old times and I hadn’t realized how much I missed the good times we all had together.

And as I sit here writing this and looking at this picture I can’t help but thank God He brought these two people into my life so many years ago. They truly have helped to make me a better man, and the laughter they brought into my life I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Thank you Terry and Angel for all you’ve done for me; mabookies for eternity.

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Art Linkletter used to have a television show where he’d put children in front of a camera and then ask them questions. The show was a great hit because the kid’s answers were always hilarious. Yoda said it best in “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones”.

Children really do say some of the darndest things. I loved the answers these kids would give Mr. Linkletter and often wondered how they came to their conclusions. One little boy when asked, “If you could be any animal, what would you be?” replied he would be an Octopus. When asked why, he said, “So I could grab all the bullies in my school and hit them with my testicles.”

We had our own version of this with my youngest son Noah. He was always saying something which would have us on the floor laughing. I remember one day he told his mother, “Thank God I’m not an Indian!” Alarmed at his racist remark and wondering where it came from, Cheryl asked him why. “Because they take their shirts off and lay on top of each other.” Confused at first, she then remembered we had all been watching “Dances with Wolves” the night before and Kevin Costner’s character did marry a girl and in the consummation scene they did take off their shirts and lay on top of each other. I still laugh every time I see this scene in the movie.

Raymond Reddington; played by James Spader in the remarkable television show “The Blacklist” said in this week’s episode,

Picasso said it took four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child. They live in a delightful space somewhere between dreams and reality. They taste color, hear shapes, see sounds. We should all have such special needs.”

This is a great way to describe children; they have this ability to not be bothered by the mundane things we adults are bogged down with. They awake to a newness of life every day and enter into it without any preconceived notions of what the day is going to hold. They do not worry about things like bills, where their next meal is going to come from or any of the things we as adults do. Probably the biggest thing they concern themselves with is what are they going to play with first.

Somewhere along the line however kids end up taking on the cares of this life. They begin to be burdened with things they should never have to endure. And I’m afraid it comes from the adults around them. We don’t encourage children to think outside of the box, instead we try to place them inside with us. We stifle creativity and try to replace it with productivity.

I’m reminded of another movie, “Uncle Buck”; in it Buck, played by funny man John Candy, has to meet with his niece Maisy’s Assistant Principle. He is told by Miss Hogarth that Maisy is a twiddler, a dreamer, a silly heart and she doesn’t take her academic career seriously. His reply is awesome, he says to her,

I know a good kid when I see one. Because they’re all good kids…until dried-out, brain-dead skags like you drag them down and convince them they’re no good.”

And this is what we as adults do to children; we try to convince them to live their lives like us; little adults instead of letting them be kids. Kids need to say the darndest things and we need to encourage them to be twiddlers, dreamers and silly hearts. I think it would make the world a better place if we did.

What Will You Do?

“What will you do when they catch you?”

“What will you do if they catch you?”

“What will you do if they break you?”

These three questions are lines from the upcoming Star Wars movie Rogue One; due out in December. (I am so excited!) But this morning as I was contemplating some things at work, they came to mind. In life sometimes there are things which happen outside of our control, and it is what we do when presented with these challenges that make or break us.

Each and every day we are presented with challenges; either at home, work, with our friends; no one is immune. Problems are like wolves chasing us down; we all have to deal with them eventually. But the situations we face aren’t really the problem, they are common to us all. The real struggle for each of us is how we deal with the problems when they show up; do we fly off the handle and go ballistic; looking like a fool, or do we passively just take it, only to gripe about the situation later to our loved ones? This is where the real battle lies; in how we deal with them.

“What will you do when they catch you?”

” What will you do if they catch you?”

“What will you do if they break you?”

Troubles are coming for you, do you have a plan to deal with them when they arrive? I must admit I usually don’t and end up regretting the responses I make when I’m presented with a challenge. I think one of the reasons I have such a hard time with this is because they mess up my routine. And who among us wants our routine to be upset? Humans are creatures of habit and when something interferes with that, it upsets the apple cart so to speak.

We have to work on being able to step outside of ourselves when these moments come and look at them objectively. For instance, I know at work when given the opportunity to add some more to my workload, it is not because my boss has decided to hurt me. On the contrary, it is because there is a situation which needs to be handled, and he has come to me because he knows I can get it done. Of course sometimes it takes me a minute to remind myself of this and make sure I keep my attitude in check.

These wolves which are nipping at our heels do their best to catch us and eventually break us; this is their job and they are good at it. What we have to do is stay one step ahead of them. And doing this requires the ability to keep a good, positive attitude when you can feel them breathing down your neck. 

As loud as they are yapping, you’ve got to be louder in voicing your positive attitude to yourself. And it can be hard, because a lot of times the other voices around you aren’t so positive and it can feel as if you are fighting a battle on two fronts.

The one thing I know, but have to remind my self daily, is I have what it takes, there is more to me than meets the eye and I am destined to do great things. Regardless of what any other voice is trying to tell me, these things I know are true for me and they are true for you as well. You just have to believe them and remind yourself daily.

So if these problems of life catch me, I’ll just not let them break me, because I’m better than that and so are you!