It’s weird to think here’s this movie that means so much in your life that you not only have a memory concerning it, you have such a number of them that you could be easily expected to choose your “personal best Star Wars memory.” I mean, I have a couple of The Avengers memories, like this one time I sat down and watched The Avengers with Rifftrax, or this other time I told somebody about the time I watched The Avengers with the Rifftrax, but it’s not like any of that stuff is memoir material.
Star Wars is different. Why? How? I don’t know. I’ll probably explore those concepts next week, the last day of the challenge in fact, when I’m supposed to talk about why I love Star Wars. How inexplicable and strange it is that here’s this 70s scifi flick that has made enough of a difference in my life that I, quite literally, have a scrapbook of memories related to it. I mean it, it’s a black suede photo album entitled Star Wars: A Love Story. It’s unfinished because I started it the summer before grad school and I always thought I’d have a home with a work station in it after grad school which would enable me to finish it. Two years on, that hasn’t happened, but I digress.
There’s the memory of the first time I ever saw A New Hope, with pepperoni pizza and snow on the ground. There’s the memory of watching Oprah Star Wars interviews before even seeing ESB and discovering via clips that Han got frozen in carbonite. There’s the memory of how Mom sneakily rented ESB and ROTJ at the same time but didn’t tell me. The memory of washing Dad’s car six or seven times to earn the money to pay for the Special Edition Trilogy on VHS. The memory of turning broom handles into lightsabers and dueling with my niece. The memory of borrowing novelizations from a friend at electricity class — the related memory of the first time I found out there were books. The memory of sitting on the floor in my room on a rainy day sorting my Star Wars Trivial Pursuit cards by the number in the lower right corner. The memory of carrying my Episode I Visual Dictionary around everywhere I went for six months. The memory of building my first fan site. Seeing ROTJ in the theater — seeing the prequels in the theater. First soundtrack. First action figure.
You know, one of the very first things I ever, ever did was — I had this spiral-bound wide-rule notebook. I wrote STAR WARS on the cover in Sharpie. (It’s the green notebook in the middle of that picture.) And then, during the 20 minutes allotted Internet time I got each day, I would log onto the graphics-intensive StarWars.com and methodically start copying out the databank articles into this notebook. I also printed out a few pictures and quotations and made profile pages. The cover eventually came clean off because I carried it around recording every smidgeon of Star Wars information I could find in it. (This is why I’m not kidding when I say I’ve spent more than a decade and a half researching Star Wars.)
Oh, here’s another fun one. Before I got Star Wars Trivial Pursuit for Christmas the one year my parents went ahead and gave me Star Wars stuff for Christmas, I created my own Star Wars board game. The only board games I really knew of at the time were Monopoly and Parcheesi, so I’m vaguely surprised at the similarities it has with Trivial Pursuit.
It’s called Star Wars and it lives in a Reebok box. I colored it with those scented Mr. Markers. There were three types of cards: ?, !, and |o| (TIE fighters). It’s hard to explain the difference between ! and ? in my 12-year-old brain, but ! was more positive than ?, sort of. Actually, most of these “surprises” consisted of losing turns. The TIE questions almost all involved asking about Luke’s relatives (“True or false, Han Solo is Luke’s cousin”), which is why Kristine — the only other person to have played this game — and I tend to refer to it as “Luke’s Relatives,” as in, “Hey, wanna play Luke’s Relatives?” Look, I was 12! Anyway. I have no idea how you were supposed to win — oh, questions were rated by difficulty and assigned Imperial designations so when you answered correctly, you “destroyed” your target. TIEs were easy, Star Destroyers hard — there was a Super Star Destroyer and a Death Star question but I forget what I considered of that degree of extreme difficulty. “Darth Vader’s real name” might’ve been a Super Star Destroyer. I guess the general idea was you racked up points and the first one to reach a certain number of points won. And the non !, ?, or |o| tiles were planets. Ah, well.
All of that being said to say that I really think my favorite Star Wars memory, my favorite thing I’ve ever done, favorite thing to remember doing . . . would be the Star Wars concert of 2009. 2009 was a fantastic year, closing off a decade that was better than I give it credit for. The 2010s suck, man, we need out of this horrible decade . . . Sidebar. 2009 was the year I kicked off by seeing Topol in February and concluded by seeing Anthony Daniels in December. It doesn’t get better than that.