For the majority of my late teens, my kneejerk answer to this was “Qui-Gon Jinn!” I don’t know if I related to him so much as I emulated him, though. I even used to wear my hair the same! People told me I was headstrong and stubborn, and since these were traits he exhibited, I felt kindred spirits with him. There was a lot of heroic adoration of Qui-Gon going on in those years, and while I still consider him about the coolest guy in the franchise, I think if I’m honest, I can’t claim him as one I relate to.
Honestly, right at this point in my life, the character I relate to the most is Luke Skywalker at the beginning of A New Hope. Boy, do I. You know that note of bitterness in his voice when he tells Threepio, “If there’s a bright center to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s furthest from”? That’s how I talk to the undergrad student workers when they catch me in a bad moment and ask how my life is going.
Luke may be the stereotypical browbeaten nephew of a crusty farmer who holds him captive on the tedious family farm. But more than that, he is a frustrated young man who knows he has the capacity to do great things if he could ever just get half a chance to do them. He’s paid his dues on the family farm and has stood helplessly watching as one by one his friends peel off and get started on their own lives. Everyone around him is progressing, doing something, making something, and he’s stuck cleaning droids for Uncle Owen. Life is as tedious as the desert landscape that somehow still manages to close in on him.
I got rejected for a job today, the second interview I’ve been offered in a year, and yes, the very first thing that went through my mind upon reading the news was, “Aw, Biggs is right, I’m never gonna get out of here!” And then I cried for an hour and ate a doughnut, which Luke did not do. Well, it’s hard telling what he would’ve done if he hadn’t gotten back to the garage to find out that Artoo had wandered off and with it his power converter allowance. When I got back to my garage, I did not get launched into an adventure.
And yet, as I think about it, Luke still didn’t know he was on an adventure when he went to bed that night. He probably lay in bed in the dark thinking about how screwed he was having lost that droid, and wondering what Biggs was doing out in the exciting universe beyond Tatooine, and tossed and turned half the night wondering if his life was ever going to get started without knowing that it was all coming the next day.
Which is not to say I should come home to the burned out remains of the house tomorrow. Um, no. That isn’t the sort of adventure I want to get launched on. I just want a job. I’ve quoted it before, but it’s my favorite line in the movie Fanboys, so I’ll quote it again:
You gotta find your Death Star. Greatest deed Luke Skywalker ever did was take down the Death Star, right? As far as I’m concerned, that’s what everybody needs. You need that one bad-ass thing that lets you live on forever, you know. (via IMDb)
And it’s out there. I just have to wait for it.
Right. Well, thanks for reading through this me talking myself out of going to bed and never getting out of it again!