Arnie and the Ultimate Star Wars Fan
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The weekend was a dark time.  I rented intentionally bad movies, such as Catwoman and Elektra.  I didn’t  realize it at the time, but most of the movies I rented were comic book movies (mostly Marvel), a prior  hobby/obsession of mine.  Perhaps I was retreating subconsciously from my Star Wars mania of the past 13  years to my comic book mania which held me from 90-93.  I still shopped for Star Wars toys Saturday, finding  a couple new M&Ms bags and toys, but I bought them bitterly.  Saturday night we traveled to Decatur buying  Target Clones, Bai Ling Playboys and the final two M&Ms bags, but it was still not enough to make me break  out of my funk.

Then Sunday something wonderful happened.  I prepared for Revenge of the Brick, the computer animated Star  Wars mini-movie made in Lego style, and when I turned on my TV my Tivo had turned on Return of the Jedi,  playing on my local Fox affiliate.  It was the end battle, Ewoks vs. AT-STs, Luke vs. Vader, and Nein Numb  saying “An elephant just stepped on my foot.”  The music, the action, the actors.  

In the few minutes of watching ROTJ on commercial broadcast television I found the answer to my question,  what was I doing this for?  I wasn’t doing it for Lucas, who I often disagree with.  I wasn’t doing it for  fan adulation, I wasn’t doing it for props from people on how extreme I was.  I do everything I do because of  how watching Star Wars makes me feel.  Seeing Return of the Jedi returned me to being 8 years old, in line at  the (now closed) Fox theater in Springfield, IL, frightened of a man in a Darth Vader costume who was there to  entertain the line while we waited.  I was returned to a time of true bliss, before jobs, before homework, where playing with my Star Wars action figures on my parents’ red and black shag carpeting while watching cartoons on television was my career.

The books don’t do it for me, neither do the comics.  Some of the videogames do, but not many.   But when I  watch any of the Star Wars movies, even the prequels which came out when I was in my 20s and (ugh) 30s, or  when I play the Star Wars RPG, I am truly transported to that galaxy far, far away.  I can close my eyes and  believe Jawas are out in the desert scavenging for parts and haggling like street merchants.  I believe Jedi  wander the galaxy righting wrongs, keeping peace and justice.  I believe a lightsaber can cut and a Millennium  Falcon can fly while looking like a hunk of junk.  For a few hours, I believe.

In a few minutes of Return of the Jedi, watching Palpatine get tossed down an elevator shaft, watching Ewoks  get bonked in the head with rocks, and watching the song which replaced “Nyub Nyub” I was reminded why I have  a rebel symbol etched on my arm, and Yoda etched on my leg.  

When Revenge of the Brick came on I was back, baby, ready for it, and loved every minute of it.  I do this all  for me, and I’m happy with that.

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