“Don’t get cocky kid” ~ Han Solo
Last Friday a peak was hit in the preparations for 13.1.3. A four mile run in the late afternoon clocked in at a 10:10 pace. I was loose, felt great…eyes on the prize. A 10 minute pace was looking like a reality after a mediocre 10:20- 10:30 pace for most of the week.
In spite of not being able to train on Saturday and Sunday due to a family wide illness there was a glow about me yesterday. That Friday run proved progress was being made. The new shoes had knocked down post-run residual leg pain to negligible levels. The goal was set for a Monday run, and hopefully a 6-7 jaunt week…May is approaching fast, and my body feels better the more I get out to push myself.
There was no time for stretching today. Between waiting for my wife to get home from work and getting the components of the pulled pork pizza I was drumming up for dinner set, I lost tracks of time. With a 6 pm start for work fast approaching I stupidly brushed off the need for such rituals. “Don’t you remember what we did last week? We kicked ass”.
With that I was off.
Today’s run started out great, .5 mile in and I was at a 8:30 pace, thanks in no small part to the Boss signing “We Take Care of our Own”.
At the .75 mile mark I pulled up lame with a sore right Achilles. All I could think of was, “damn, I got too cocky.” My body added, “you dumbass…you’re 38, spent far too many years deep in sloth, and are only a year into this whole running thing…did I mention you are a dumbass?”
The good news: nothing major seems to be damaged. Every time the tendon acted up I slowed to a fast walk. This was not what I wanted from this run.
More good news: my pace, even with the intermittent walking: 10:42. That was my pace for my first half. While not a perfect run, it could have been much worse
It makes sense I followed Luke’s cocky path: I always identified with him more than Han…even after I figured out he was not as cool as the scoundrel.
From here on: a new hope, now with more stretching.
No, I don’t brandish either a blue or green lightsaber. I cannot bullseye womprats with my T-16. I probably whine more than I would care to admit. But today I faced my inner Luke Skywalker…and like many things Luke, including the previously mentioned whining and his face after he met the wampa…it is not pretty.
It is funny, I used to love Luke. I was Luke, at least every time we played “Star Wars”. IThere is nothing more that I wanted at that time than to dress up in either bright orange flightsuit or earth tone Bespin outfit and fight the dark side. When I was 8 years old you could take Han and his rogueish ways…I was all about the choir boy, wannabe Jedi.
Ah, the folly of youth. Still there is an innocent charm to that way that I was drawn to the callow farm boy with a destiny to help bring balance to the Force? Right?
Well something must’ve rubbed off during my ill advised boyhood man-crush on Anakin’s only son. Today I found myself yet again aping Luke, albeit from one of his less heroic and more embarrasing scenes from the original trilogy.
If only it were something as docile as getting taken advantage of by Too-Onebee while getting out of the bacta tank (implied to have happened offscreen…pay attention people, it is there) or displaying a cheesy, goofy smile on my face when an astromech droid with a quality motivator celebrated after helping destroy the ultimate power in the universe (1:15 in the linked video).
This was worse, from my certain point of view.
Today in response to some kudos from my boss I pulled a variation of one of my least favorite Luke Skywalker moves: the “aw shucks” routine (seen at the end of the decidely mediocre linked short) that unfolds after Obi Wan tells Luke, “I understand you’ve become quite a good pilot yourself”.
The look is brutal, and I can feel my face contorting into that false bashful modesty of a moisture farmer every time I get a compliment. It sucks because I worry it comes off as disingenuous…I appreciate the compliments, but find myself unable to display that emotion. That part of being a Skywalker will always be with me, no matter how much I distance myself from my youthful transgression of being a Luke fan.
I can’t see me getting over it, it has been at least 25 years since I realized Luke is largely a whiny little pissant. And still I model that behavior.
It could be worse, at least I never made out with my sister. Score one for me, whiny Jedi.
30 years before James’ life revolved around “Toy Story”, my world was all about “Star Wars”. This time 3 decades ago I endlessly pondered:
- How was Han going to be rescued from Boba Fett and be freed from the carbonite?
- Could Luke ever beat beat Vader, especially with his new mechanical hand?
- Would we ever see the Emperor?
And every time it snowed all I could think of was Hoth, that has been the constant through my life. Throughout the snow days and storms of my day there was not a time where I played through the snowy squalls and did not pause and at least imagine I was on that amazingly cool, frozen planet.
During my senior year in college I worked at the local multiplex. I did not have a car, so I often would walk to work. My trek took me down routes 20 and 60, and a few times I trudged through significant cold temperatures and snow to get there. What got me through? Imagining that I was Luke, trying to escape the Wampa’s cave was a source of comfort and warmth straight from youth. I may have even uttered a “Ben…” out loud as shivered down the cold lonely sidewalks of Fredonia.
I was 21. I was and still am a dork at heart.
It’s okay, I know who I am. Even the prequels awfulness cannot tarnish my association of snowy weather with the amazingly cool ice planet of my youth.
Later, out in the snow with my kids, I will be building snow men and we will knocking them down with our sleds. My heart will be in touch with my inner youth; my heart will be on Hoth.
1982 and the first five months of 1983 were defined by anticipation for me.
It was the dark ages of movie news. I pounced on every still, every fragment of story of character detail that I could for “Return of the Jedi”. I remember the first time that I saw the green blade of Luke’s new lightsaber. I was in awe. Jabba was finally going to show up onscreen? Too cool.
On May 25th 1983 my mom took us to opening day, first show. Finally Jabba, the green lightsaber in action. And a gold bikini?
If anyone ever asked when I knew I was straight, and no one ever does; I would point to May 25th 1983. Leia + gold bikini. It was my sexual awakening. Sure I had had crushes before, Molly Moore was always a cutie. But this was…it was a whole new ballgame. Of course I was not quite sure exactly why it was so awesome.
It just was.
I went with my brothers and Dad again on May 29th 1983 to see the bikini, I mean film. We went to a 9:30 am show. This time I came not for some glow-stick nor a space slug; I was all in for slave Leia. And then after that day she left my life. I never did see Jedi in the theater again in that form.
This past weekend my mom came to visit and dropped off a bunch of Star Wars schwag from my cousin Kyle. He has worked the “Star Wars Celebration V” in Orlando this past summer. There were T-Shirts galore, including a sweet one that said, “Hoth Blue Milk Brewing”. You want one, you know you do. But the coolest thing that came was:
Yes, Slave Leia Perfume. And to make it even better:
Now I never show up my wife by gawking or commenting of other women. I find it artificial and boorish at this point in my life. Well that and I made the mistake of once telling my wife that I found Maura Tierney attractive. Since that day she cannot pop on the screen without a knowing glance and sarcastic comment being sent my way. Lesson learned.
So I try and keep cool. But as I was looking at the box my Dad said something along the lines of, “So you are going to give that to Nicole, right?”
My primal response, in the tone of Chris Farley as the fat Gap girl who wants her fries left alone, “No it’s mine”. The 9 year old in me surfaced. It was ugly, I was embarrassed. But I really could not help myself. My Dad shot me a “Let it go Indiana” look ala Connery from “The Last Crusade”. And once again, he was right.
I know I am a lucky man. I have a beautiful, loving wife and two great kids. I have no more lustful thoughts about Leia, I don’t need to. She served her purpose at a time in my life. I will keep the signed memento as a tribute to all Slave Leia has given me. On May 25th 1983 Gold Bikini Leia came into my life and while one saga ended, another began.
Star Wars and the way I saw the women and the world were never quite the same again.
I tried to see the good in this idea of 3-D Star Wars. It would give me a chance to take my kids to the theater and experience Star Wars as I once had. But this idea is no Anakin Skywalker, there is no good in it. The forthcoming films are not the ones I experienced as a child.
It is not only the fact that the Special Editions are likely to be the Original Trilogy that are presented that irks me. No, that is bad enough. But when Lucas presents the films in numerical order, I-VI, he will be showing how weak the narrative of the saga was made by the limp scripting and execution (I am in favor of it) of the prequels.
It has always been my concern that my kids would watch “The Empire Strikes Back”, and after the big Vader reveal on Bespin (spoiler?) they would look at me and say “Big deal, we knew that. He was the kid who won the pod race and then went to whine all over the galaxy until he got all burned up”. Such is the legacy of the prequels. The Beard screwed up the defining, visceral moment of the OT, that we all learned about Luke’s true parentage with him. It made the impact on Luke more profound we shared his shattered psyche.
Thanks to the exercise in merchandising without any thought to augmenting the saga as a whole that the prequels were, that moment is gone. There were many ways they could have made the prequels and had Vader’s identity remain a mystery. The Beard and McCallum chose the lazy and unsatisfying way out of it all.
Before you ask how they could have done so: perhaps a competing, jealous padawan would be involved throughout the last two films and in the final duel. Both Anakin and he could have been tempted by the dark side, and perished, leaving Vader’s true identity a mystery throughout the third and fourth films until the great Bespin moment.
There are other ways around it other than the ham-handed, “everybody knows anyways” scripting that they went with. Isn’t that the main bump in the road with prequels in general? There are facts that are known that get in the way of creating an interesting back story. It is the job of the writer to create a compelling and logical stories that do not contradict and augment what we already know transpires in latter films and stories.
Onto the main questions in regards to the new 3-D incarnations to come: what scenes are crying for 3-D? Do we need Boss Nass’ slobber flying at us in Episode I? Will the Zam Wessel chase in Attack of the Clones be better with depth of field? How about Anakin’s awkward first steps as Vader coming right at you, all for 15 extra bucks, not including the Captain Tarpals themed 3-D glasses, but you get to keep those! Money in the bank, right? Thrilling stuff to be sure, but for whom?
For the Beard, I suppose. Imagining the coffers getting filled again with ill gotten Midichlorian backed money surely makes his neck waddle trembles with delight. The fact is that the saga was stronger when it was Luke’s arc. Post-prequels what we got was and attempt to transform all the films into Anakin’s story, his fall and redemption.
And while the redemption part of Anakin’s arc stays strong ( thanks to Luke’s arc), the fall failed. Luke as a protagonist was more compelling. Anakin’s path was hurt by the fact that we all knew where it was going, but couldn’t you say the same about Luke’s journey? Who thought he was really going to fall? The fact is that Anakin’s story was clumsy and lazy. I can’t imagine that 3-D can fix that fatal flaw. So I think on this go around that I will pass Beard.*
* Author reserves the right to be weak in 2012 and take his kids to go see the films. He also reserves the right to lambaste the 3D versions and enjoy his Captain Tarpals glasses while yearning for the Ric Olie pair he knows they are handing out at another theater.