How strong is the Force! THIS strong!

March 5, 2012

Back in 1977 I graduated from college and went on the interview circuit looking for a music teaching job. I finally was hired by a district 15 miles from the town I was from, but in between I covered a lot of ground throughout the Midwest. In June of that year I was in some little town in western Wisconsin that I have forgotten the name of…my brother Greg had traveled with me on that interview trip. We had the evening before the interview to kill so we drove downtown to the local one-screen movie theater. They were showing this science fiction movie that had turned into a big success. Even in mid-June the line to get in that night was around the block – and the movie had come out almost a month earlier!

We liked it, but we both thought it was a little hokey. I was a hard science fiction kind of guy, reading Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein, Jerry Pournelle, those sorts of guys. This was pretty “space opera” for me…come to think of it, I don’t think that term had even existed yet then. If it did, I hadn’t heard it.

The special effects were great, and even with the sounds of the ships in the battles in vacuum I was impressed. I thought the main character was weak and the actor portraying him didn’t help. On the other hand, the guy playing his buddy was pretty good. I cheered along with the rest of the cast at the end when the Death Star was destroyed, and when everybody but the Wookie got medals. (What was up with that?)

The film grew on me, as it did on millions of others. So, of course, as soon as my kids were old enough they were indoctrinated into the ways of the Force. We took my  daughter to see “Empire” when it came out…she immediately identified Yoda as “Fozzie Bear” – good ears, kid! My son came along in 1981 and had to play catch-up a little bit.

Fortunately, after the first movie came out in 1977 the whole saga never really went away. There were blips up and down over the years when it was more culturally prominent, but it was always there. I actually took a personal day off work to go see “The Phantom Menace” with my son!

And yes, I’m one of those few who likes JarJar. And I have that giant, three-foot Millennium Falcon toy.

So…once the online gaming started I was too old for that. Too many things intervened and I never was into gaming much. My son Brian, though, that was different. I couldn’t tell you exactly what online games he has been involved in except for World of Warcraft. Now, apparently, he is involved in something called Star Wars The Old Republic.

So…when it came time that Brian wanted to propose to his girlfriend of three years, Amanda, he did it at the SWTOR Summit in Austin, Texas. Yeah. And the guys who wrote the game helped set it up. Stormtroopers, R2-D2, the works.

Just as George Lucas had no idea back in 1977 where Star Wars would take him, I had no idea where it would take my family. Dang.

Oh – I still think Luke is a big whiner! But then, his dad was a whiner…


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