Archive for August, 2011

Yoda the Ham

THANK YOU by Garnet Goldman

When the first Star Wars came out in May 1977, I was 23 and living in San Francisco. In those days, my friends and I smoked, and movie theaters in San Francisco allowed smoking in the back rows. So we made our way to the back of theater. That will give you an idea of how clueless I was about what I was about to see.

As soon as that Imperial cruiser crossed the top of the screen, I grasped the enormity of my mistake. Every seat was occupied, though, so moving closer to the screen wasn’t possible. Alas, after the movie was over, we had to endure a three-year wait before the next chapter arrived. How innocent we were in those days. When Darth Vader revealed in the second movie that he was Luke’s father, we were stunned. “Oh, My!” Everyone in the theater let out a collective gasp. Then we had to wait another three years to find out whether Han Solo could be revived from his carbonite nap.

Mr. Doobins has grown up in a world permeated by Star Wars. “May the Force be with you” is part of his cultural genetic code. My cultural genetic code includes Gomer yelling to Barney, “Citizen’s arrest! Citizen’s arrest!” and the habit of saying, “cash money.” (This amuses Garnet and Sparkle Girl no end.)

I take great pride in having long ago introduced Doobins and Sparkle Girl to the lighter elements of my world – Buster Keaton, Jack Benny, Jeeves & Wooster. Doobins relishes his cup of milk before bed, and, having seen Jeeves mix Bertie Wooster a bracing cocktail, Doobins once said to me, “Ready for my cocktail, Jeeves.”

But, although Doobins had played the Lego Star Wars games, built Lego starfighters and seen the prequel now called Episode I, Garnet and I had not yet let him see the original three Star Wars movies – too intense, we thought. When Sparkle Girl went off to church camp for a week, we wanted to find fun and special things to do with Doobins while she was gone. The time had come, we decided, for us to watch the movies with him. No three-year waits this time – one movie a night for three nights was the plan.

The first night, Doobins was so energized by his first visit to the source of the Star Wars universe that getting him to bed by his usual time was out of the question. With that in mind, we started earlier the second night. You may rest assured that Doobins gasped not when Darth Vader told Luke he was his father. To a youngster of today, it was yesterday’s news, and he wanted them to stop gabbing and get back to fighting.

In the third movie, Doobins was unfazed by Yoda’s death. As the Jedi master waxed eloquent about what it was like to shuffle off this mortal coil after 900 years, Doobins said, “All right, already. Won’t you just go ahead and die, you big ham.”

I’m glad that Garnet, Doobins and I now share to experience of having watched the original Star Wars movies together. It looks, though, as if I better rethink my plans to model my death-bed soliloquy on Yoda’s.