A ludicrous Twitter exchange involving my sister and one of her best friends threw into sharp relief how ridiculous my life is.
For the better part of an hour, we jokingly discussed starting a 1950s-style leather jacket-wearing gang not unlike what you’ve seen in “West Side Story.” After discussing possible names (involving crushing, skulls, lasers, souls, and being old and obsolete), we started to talk about being in the gang, where we’d have our clubhouse, training ourselves for extensive snapping, etc.
The entire discussion included no fewer than:
19 references to “Star Wars”
2 references to “The Venture Bros.”
1 reference to “West Side Story”
1 reference to “Star Trek”
2 references to Oprah
2 references to Dr. Phil
2 references to the Jonas Bros.
This while the laptop sat on my lap and I played the new “Ghostbusters” video game. On a Saturday night. Alone.
What’s insane is not that I was freakin’ great at the game of making totally obscure “Star Wars” references during this conversation (and I am); what’s insane is that I remember so much from movies and, often, large portions of my own life are a little hazy.
For example, I was trying to think back on my childhood the other day, specifically the areas of right around fourth and fifth grade. I can’t remember much of anything from those years, except that I was, in a vague way, unhappy. Picked on, probably.
But I can recite most every line from “A New Hope” in succession with a high degree of accuracy. I could act that entire movie out with improvised sets and costumes if I wanted, on very short notice, by myself.
That’s sad in a lot of ways. How is it that “Star Wars” had a greater effect on me than fourth grade?
It’s not like I’m ashamed of my intense nerdiness. “Star Wars” is a morality tale of our time. It’s a quintessential battle between good and evil. Aspiring to be like heroes from movies isn’t a bad thing, I think, especially when it was experiences like laying on the living room floor, chin on hands, watching “The Empire Strikes Back” with Dad that shaped me into the man I am today. I want to be a writer because of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader and Stephen King and George Lucas and Michael Crichton and Chuck Palahniuk and Philip K. Dick. I want to make movies because of Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm and Johnny Five and Rick Deckard and Arnold Schwartzeneggar and Ellen Ripley and George Romero.
But it is a little ri-goddamn-diculous.
I write this post as I dig away at a new zombie story for the “Wrath of the Damned” blog. There’s another ridiculous nerd outlet. And what I do remember of school included a lot of being made fun of (like when I wore this Vader t-shirt mocking an old Uncle Sam poster that said “I want you! For the Galactic Empire.” And douches were like, “you want me?” “No, Darth Vader wants you — to die!” Should have said that). Specifically for things that I liked and was passionate about.
Guess my point is this: The things we like, the things we make, have the potential to be huge. I don’t think I’d be the same person I am today if Indiana Jones didn’t exist. I’m almost positive I’ve never had an impact like that on a person.
And I can count on one hand the people who have had as much an impact on me as Luke Skywalker.
Makes you (or me) think about to what exactly your life amounts. And your work. I wonder if anyone I know would count me on the same hand as Luke Skywalker. Or hell, even Flash Gordon. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Timon and Pumba.
And on a similar note, I guess I need to get writing, because I know exactly where the bar is set.