Happy Star Wars Day, everyone! (May the Fourth for those not in the know.)
Let me warn you that if you work in the construction industry (construction-tech?), this made-up-holiday is not as big of a deal as it is in the software-company world. No potlucks, Happy Hours, costume contests or anything! Did a few of us still dress up? Of course we did. Then again, give us any excuse to coordinate our outfits and we’ll take it. I’m still waiting for my Happy Hour to begin.
My zeal for Star Wars wasn’t always a thing to be scoffed at by my boss. Today, as I was questioned about my various Star Wars props and outfit accessories, it made me think back to when I discovered this whole galactic world.
As usual, many of my internal filters and checkpoints involve the various boys that consumed my brain so that’s how I categorize things. I’ve renamed them here to protect their grown-up privacy. My blog’s 10 readers are pretty damn intuitive and you never know when one of them could be recognized.
Initial Star Wars Discovery
Boy: Guns & Roses Fan + Football Captain
When you’re a spindly, high-school sophomore kissing a high-school senior in your friend’s coat closet (WITH THE LIGHTS OFF) you can be sure that memory will most likely make an impression on you. When you discover his bedroom has a dedicated, black-painted wall featuring glow-stars and the opening credits from Star Wars, that will also leave you with some…thoughts. Bonus points for the Star Wars models hanging from the ceiling with fishing line.
Our connection ended faster than a parsec, but I moved onto his younger brother, who was way more my speed, albeit, not as tall. Damn. We didn’t really talk about the whole 2-weeks-I-hung-out-with-his-older-brother-first thing a lot.
Oh yeah, Star Wars…
Boy: Blue-eyed boy, perfect, except for his musical appreciation for Pink Floyd and lack of feelings for yours truly
B-boy loved his Star Wars. If I remember correctly, when he wasn’t melting me with that heavy, blue-eyed gaze or introspective comments on why we’d never make a good couple, he promised to watch all three of the Star Wars movies with me since I had never seen any. Maybe we watched the first one. At that time, if he was in the room, I wouldn’t have noticed. The only B-boy movie I seem to remember retaining is Seven, which just scared the hell out of me and may have been the first rated-R movie I saw in the theaters.
Back then, in the late nineties, you couldn’t cue up your phone and watch movies on all our 1-5 road trips, so we’d talk, find shapes in clouds and listen to just a few songs on a CD before he’d play DJ and cue up some other obscure tune on the portable player connected to my Hyundai via tape adapter. The original “good-hair” influence/measurement in my life, he’s since been replaced with Justin Timberlake. Sorry, B-boy. JT’s hair is the freaking best.
No really – Star Wars is A THING
Boy: The ORIGINAL Star Wars super-fan. Or at least the one I chose to have children with.
Once again, I found myself being promised a movie date to watch all three of the Star Wars movies. This time, in 1999, I think we actually accomplished it. But alas, there was a new Star Wars movie coming out and so we felt the pressure of a deadline!
We grabbed the FOURTH-slash-Episode-1 Star Wars movie in a tiny theater in Placerville. I remember thinking that Jar Jar Binks must have been based on the younger girls in Full House with those lame catch-phrases. But I could watch Ewan McGregor in pretty much anything, so it wasn’t totally wasted on me.
We’d wait in more lines as two more films came out and it really was made even more special because of the pure joy he had whenever he got to see them.
As time passed, the Star Wars tattoos started and the title of super-fan was officially bestowed. After our divorce, the pin-up “me” tattoo he had on his leg was covered up with a massive Darth Vader tattoo. My so-called embrace of the Dark Side had never been so fully represented as that rad tattoo.
“I. AM. Your. Father!”
Boy: My firstborn, my life-changer, my Heart’s gift
As son of the OG super-fan, this kid basically had zero say in being exposed to the Star Wars universe. His first stuffed toy was a 6’’ Stormtrooper doll. He’s had Star Wars-themed clothing since it buttoned between his legs for easy diaper changes. And the trend doesn’t seem to be changing, despite being only weeks away from his 13th birthday. Alright, except for the snaps between the legs.
Note, this isn’t where I’ll insert the cliche about it feeling like “only yesterday”. If you’ve met my son, you know that you feel every. single. one. of the days he’s existed on this planet. There is no speedy time passing with this child. There’s too much he’s throwing at you for a day to be able to blend together into the next. Mysterious medical ailments as an infant, sheer tyranny and hell as a three-year-old who discovered head-bashing and fit-throwing to be his true passion in life, random old-man sayings and activities and a stubborn streak that is only close the size of my own .
The boy I love most in this world chose to have a Star Wars themed birthday party when he turned four. I had been laid off from work a month or so before (Apparently, toenail-fungus-laser-cure advertising contracts were NOT the revenue generator they originally were) so it was one of the few times I was at home with my babies.
I decided that exercising my new stay-at-home-mom wings was the thing to do and so I committed to the theme like a naive college freshman commits to the baked potato bar. (THIS is what sour cream tastes like? Holy shit! This is amazing! I’m having vegetables and dairy every day! This is what it feels like to be a grown up!)
I turned to the Dollar Store for budget-friendly supplies and left with a cart-full of stuff guaranteed to fill up my day and the emptiness I felt in not being able to provide for my family. Party on!
I crafted lightsabers from pool noodles, electrical tape and metallic markers; I made a 4-foot model of the Star Destroyer out of a large inflatable orca, some bamboo poles and all the tin foil I could afford. That thing turned out amazing and hung in my son’s room for years. Special thanks to the original, Star Wars boy for that pro-tip!
Our guests, both young and old, came in costume and we had a blast! The Millennium Falcon cake was an enormous hit and set the standard for future birthday cakes that I always delegated and purchased from friends. Mama doesn’t bake cakes. At least not ones that are supposed to look like actual things.
The First Star Wars Day
Boy: The coworker who can pull off a beer in one hand and a legit Stormtrooper costume in the other
My first Star Wars (May 4th) celebration happened just after I started at my new job at one of the local software companies. I had purchased a rad Stormtrooper hair clip for the occasion and loved the company-sponsored snacks, beers, prizes and decorations. What a time to be alive and be into Nerd Culture! I could work with this.
This particular coworker’s Star Wars fervor was STRONG! He’s performed on stage with Weird Al during his many Star Wars anthems. He’s volunteered time and raised awareness for local autism events, as well as helped out with Free Comic Book Day, local Star Wars nights at baseball games, and more. Basically, he’s an amazing human being who took his passion for the series and turned it into a way to give back to his community and I think that’s pretty stellar.
Today, the Star Wars universe has gotten so big, my brain can’t seem to contain any new details. I still haven’t seen the last movie (movies?). I see Star Wars “happening” to my kids, but it’s like I’m on the outside now and have turned it over to them.
I hear Disneyland is getting a new Star Wars land and all I can think of is “Wait! B-boy and I hung out over there when it was Frontier Land back in high school!” I remember our hunt for where we could buy gum (pretty impossible in D-Land). I had hoped it was for future kissing plans but I think it was just for his wistful whisperings in my ear on the Peter Pan ride. (“I can show you the world….” Oh my God. I totally swooned.) How sad that that area will be paved over and covered up with Millennium Falcon and Chewbacca forests! Then again, how appropriate? I think he’s going to love it.
This morning, despite me being a bit rusty with my Star Wars exposure, I grabbed my Star Wars shirt, added some annoying, bright-red lipstick and embraced the made up holiday with a smile on my face. My 11 year-old daughter watched me get ready in the mirror and exclaimed, “So THAT’S how you put on lipstick!”
Maybe she’ll remember Star Wars Day with the interesting timeline marker of “Saw how to put on red lipstick on one of mom’s weird May 4th days.”