A little Star Wars talk at work yesterday, coupled with today’s review of Green Day’s American Idiot made me want to retell this story. Ok, also because I had nothing else in the oven for today. Oh, and thank you to everyone who left birthday greetings for Todd yesterday. He really appreciated the fact that so many of my invisible friends took the time to do so.
I dropped my son off at baseball practice, giving me 90 minutes to kill before he had to be picked up. I knew what I wanted to do with at least part of those 90 minutes but my conscience was smacking me around.
I sat in my idling car in front of the baseball field for a good twenty minutes contemplating what I was about to do. Or not do.
Green Day was live on K-Rock. They were playing their own set of chosen songs. Surrender by Cheap Trick came on and I sang.
Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away….
Every momentous occasion has a song that plays in the background, lyrics speaking only to you. But Cheap Trick was sending me contradicting messages. How could I both surrender to the demon sitting on my shoulder, egging me on, yet not give myself away? To actually do what I was contemplating would be giving away my very soul to the dark side.
To make matters worse, I had my daughter in the car with me. I would be dragging her into this as well and while she could never understand the meaning of all this – coming from an entirely different viewpoint on this – I nonetheless asked her opinion. If I was taking her along for the ride, she had a right to an opinion on the matter.
I slowly explained to her – using fact, figures, historical data and quotes – what the situation was. She nodded in all the right places, threw in a few well-placed mmhmms and, when I was done, said:
“Mom, you are out of your freaking mind. Who the hell spends this much time agonizing over buying a DVD?”
She had no clue. None at all. I wanted to explain to her what George Lucas had done, how he had raped my memories, how he was forcing us to spend more money to….oh, it was useless.
By this time I had wasted nearly half of the 90 minutes and Green Day was now playing The Who’s The Kids are Alright. Maybe that meant my daughter was right? Was I out of my mind? Probably.
It was too late to go all the way to Best Buy. Perhaps my decision was made for me. Then Natalie said that she needed some things for school. Reverse decision! Wal-Mart, here we come! I would have just enough time to drive to Wal-Mart, send Natalie down the school supply aisle and sprint to the DVD section. If I did this all in a rush, I wouldn’t have time to contemplate the ramifications of what I was doing.
I met up with Darth Vader at the front of aisle three. An omen, of course. He stared at me (as much as cardboard can stare) menacingly, just daring me to reach out and touch his display. Who can resist the force? Not I.
My hands trembled as they seemingly floated on their own will towards the silver-hued box. A device on the box blinked red. Buy. Me. Buy. Me. Buy. Me. My hands trembled in mid air. I could have sworn the cardboard Vader said “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” I grabbed the box before the angel on my shoulder could find the words to stop me.
I cradled the DVD in my arms and met up with Natalie near the checkout. She eyed me suspiciously when she saw I was holding the movie. What will people say? she whispered.
I put my things on the checkout conveyor. The belt whirred into action and carried the box towards the cashier. She was just about to pick it up to scan it when I grabbed it out of her hands. It all played out in slow motion and my cry of “NO!” reverberated throughout the store in a long, slow drawl. Nooooooooooooo! The cashier stared hard at me.
“I don’t want to buy this.” I said defiantly. I turned my head towards aisle three to stare down Vader, but I was afraid of being turned into a pillar of salt so I averted my eyes.
We left the store with just some loose leaf reinforcements and a bottle of White-Out. Oh, and with my dignity intact, of course. After we picked up DJ and recounted the whole story for him, Green Day – still spinning records on K-Rock – played Slayer’s Raining Blood. It felt right for some reason.
Of course, I eventually bought the damn DVD, just like I paid money to see Phantom Menace, just like I forced myself through Clone Wars, just like that night I spent with the life sized Boba Fett display…well, not so much like that. My Star Wars obsession has since waned, for the most part. I sold a lot of my toy collection and I no longer think that Darth Vader is real. I still have a death wish for all ewoks, though, and I still think Empire Strikes Back is one of the greatest movies ever made.