Intelligence:

Analyzed and Synthesized

by Edallia Monotheer

(hey, we had to get it from somewhere!)

 

The History of an Obsession

 

I am proud to state for the record that the first purchase I ever made with my own hard-earned cash was a copy of the Star Wars trilogy. I was eleven. I sold my bicycle for the money. Before I bought that hallowed three-tape set, I had to content myself with a taped-from-TV copy of Return of the Jedi, complete with commercials and static fuzz at the bottom of the screen. I must have watched it every day. My parents must have considered finding me some good psychiatric help.  

I was obsessed with the eventual acquisition of those movies, ever since I had first spied them in the display at our local Blockbuster. It was a few months before I had the money. My parents, who up until then had provided everything I asked for without question, held back on buying me those tapes. I think they were trying to curb my enthusiasm for the SW universe, or perhaps they were only attempting to save themselves from the near-constant replay the tapes would surely be subjected to, but it was already too late. I persisted, and soon enough, the tapes were mine. I remember distinctly the sense of pride I felt going home from the video store that day. Crammed though I was in the backseat of the car, I felt just a little bit more adult and mature. After all, there was my little sister next to me, cradling the latest Disney rental, and here I was with STAR WARS!! I was moving up to bigger and better things.  

One day not too long after the Sacred Purchase, Mom came home with a copy of Heir to the Empire. I began reading it immediately, and no force of nature or pissed off parenthood could pry it from my hands. It was the same way with the copy of the ROTJ novelization that I found at the bookstore. It soon grew battered and dog-eared as I carted it around everywhere and read it again and again.  

Yes, it might seem pathetic to think of a geeky pre-adolescent misfit lost in a sci-fi universe. (You’d be even more appalled to know that I loved Star Trek with an equal ferocity.) But don’t you remember what it was like when you first felt the magic? The indefinable draw to that world onscreen that hinted at so many possibilities that were absent in a life of middle school drudgery and unbreachable social boundaries? I’m not going to make any absurd claims that sci-fi saved my sanity. I saved my own sanity, and I’m damn proud of it. But it was there when I needed that escape desperately.  

It never hurt that the two best friends in my life loved SW, too. Nicki and I spent hours reading, analyzing, mocking, and writing oddball, badly illustrated stories that could have been classified as fanfic, had we known what that was at the time. Those stories would seem so childish if I read them now, and so I don’t. I want to leave them in those original pristine memories where they were the funniest things we’d ever read. Hey, Nick – “There is only one Beethoven. But there are many taun-tauns!”  

And then there was Ali. She may or may not be willing to admit that I’m the one who got her into SW to begin with. She may very well admit it. But Ali found her own little niche within the universe and ran with it. Hell, she sprinted with it! She got me into Rogue Squadron. I won’t deny it. We saw every single one of the Special Edition films together at least once, if not multiple times in the case of ROTJ, which, despite its flaws, remains my eternal favorite due to the fond memory of those repeated childhood viewings. We eagerly anticipated the opening of TPM. It was something I had been waiting for since those younger days when I knew, deep in my heart, that George Lucas would someday go back and fill in the gaps. One of these days he would make those first three movies. And now this day was fast approaching. My mother brought home every magazine she saw with anything SW-related on the cover, just as she had put the first licensed SW book into my hands seven years earlier. Ali and I obtained tickets several days early, through actual connections in the local theater. So we were feeling pretty darn special as we took our places at the head of the line for the first showing of The Phantom Menace in our hometown. We waited for about an hour, Ali, Alisha, and I, trading SW memories and trivia and nearly wetting our pants with stifled laughter when our friend Brooks came waddling into the theater with the dreaded “outside food and drinks” stuffed oh-so-inconspicuously down the front of his shirt.  

Finally, finally, we took our seats in the crowded theater. The most anticipated theatrical event of our time was about to begin.  

Honestly, I knew from the start that I would be disappointed. That nothing that heralded, nothing accompanied by so many rampant rumors could possibly live up to the expectations. That everyone in that theater would feel oddly empty when it was all over.  

But just for a moment, none of that mattered. The lights went down, and that familiar orchestral fanfare filled our senses, and the entire theater burst into shrieks and applause. The girls and I squealed and squeezed each others’ hands as that timeless blue phrase flashed on to the screen, and the immortal strains of the theme music swelled to a crescendo. I felt once more as I had at age eleven, staring wistfully at the original trilogy on that display rack. 

Just for a moment, I found that magic again.

 

 



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Disclaimer: This has been a public service rant by Edallia Monotheer. Compliments appreciated, flames will be used to hone my rage and anger. If you want to comment about something that I’ve written, please contact me at sea_of_waking_dreams@yahoo.com . Put “Canon” in the subject line. Ali assumes no responsibility for my writings. Send her all the praise you want, but flame me if flame you must. Please do not reproduce this article, in whole or in part, without my permission. All Star Wars terms and characters are the property of Lucasfilm and various packs of vicious attorneys. I make no profit from my ramblings. Don’t worry, George, I’ll put the toys back in the box when I’m done. G’night, folks, you’ve been a lovely audience. Don’t forget to tip your servers.

Copyright February 2001, Edallia Monotheer.