In 1977 I was sent away to live with a foster family for part of the summer, due to some extraordinary problems my parents were facing at the time. It's not as shocking as it sounds, because it wasn't really a foster family - it was close friends of ours who had always been like a second family to me.
The parents of this family were excellent role models for both me and their birth children, and I have always felt they saved me, at least somewhat, from turning out as crazy as my brothers. They taught me that one needn't behave like a raving lunatic to lead a normal life.
Trust me, spending extended periods of time in their house was a real eye opener.
The father of this family thought it would be a special treat to take me to see "Star Wars" when it opened. So he and I went, just the two of us. It's like it was supposed to be some special father-foster-son outing for the day. How nice.
Unfortunately, although I generally loved going to the movies, I can't say that I enjoyed "Star Wars" at all. Not even the tiniest bit. In fact, I pretty much hated it. I got confused about the plot almost immediately, and at one point even fell asleep. Here is a summary of what I extracted from the film:
* Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia were the good guys.
* Darth Vader was the bad guy.
* There were these other guys named Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I had no idea what their deal was.
* Artoo Deetoo and C3PO were these silly robots who ambled around doing a "Laurel & Hardy" routine and seemed to be there mainly for comic relief.
* There was a Bigfoot-type creature named Chewbacca who grunted a lot and otherwise served no purpose that I was aware of.
* A LOT of REALLY BORING spaceship flying scenes and sundry battles took place, and then Luke swung Princess Leia somewhere on a rope.
That is pretty much what I walked away with. So much for our father-foster-son outing. But at least I got popcorn, from what I remember.
When I got back to school in the fall, I noticed that all my friends were gaga over this movie to the point where they could talk about little else. I felt left out and inadequate. I was downright ashamed to admit I had seen the film and couldn't make heads or tails out of it.
Over the years I have seen a few of the other "Star Wars" films and walked away similarly confused each time.
Apparently, I've been suffering from a "Star Wars" block for almost thirty years.
Flash forward to today. Twice in the past several weeks I heard about people watching "Star Wars" to comfort themselves in times of need. My brother-in-law recently had some heavy-duty surgery that required an extended recuperation period, and according to my sister he spent the first day out of the hospital watching all the "Star Wars" movies back-to-back.
Then my friend KC reported that her toddler son, who just had his tonsils out, spent part of his first day home sitting in front of the television, completely absorbed in "Star Wars."
"Ok, this is fucked up," I thought to myself. "I'm a fucking Georgetown graduate and yet am unable to comprehend this movie, while my friend's pre-schooler is totally into it. This just can't be. I have to figure this out."
So off to Blockbuster I went, and rented "Star Wars." I came home and immediately inserted the DVD.
Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away....
I remembered this part, with the text rolling backwards, diagonally into the screen.
Then I read the rest of the paragraph. Something about a civil war... wait, what was that?
I hit rewind. I read the paragraph again. Still, no fucking clue.
I finally understood what the problem was. This is a classic example of something akin to my occasional aural comprehension problem that I described in a recent post. For some odd reason, I found it almost impossible to absorb the meaning of this paragraph, and had to rewind about five times to make any sense of it.
What the FUCK is my problem? What????
Anyway, once I read the paragraph numerous times and absorbed the meaning into my pea-sized brain, the rest of the movie was a snap. But I can see why I was so confused all these years. Without understanding the basic framework of what was happening, as explained in that opening paragraph, it would be kind of difficult to piece together all the intergalactic shoot-em-ups and laser sword fights and all that.
I then watched the movie from start to finish and understood everything that was going on.
Now I feel like I've accomplished so much. At least for a retard.
Still, I can't say I'm overly impressed with this whole "Star Wars" obsession that seems to occupy about 95% of the rest of the world. In fact, it seems to me the filmmakers went on quite a while about a plot that can be described in under three minutes.
For any of the other retards out there who were unable to comprehend "Star Wars," here is a synopsis for you:
* Princess Leia reigns over a population that has been conquered by an evil Empire, headed in part by Darth Vader. The Empire knows she's up to no good and captures her. She wears her hair in an attractive cinnamon pastry bun style.
* Leia has stolen some plans for a Death Star that the Empire plans to use to blow up planets and other shit. She stored information about these plans in Artoo Deetoo and is hoping to get help from Obi-Wan Kenobi.
* Luke Skywalker knows Obi-Wan and gets recruited by him to help in the struggle against the Empire. Luke also develops the hots for Leia.
* Luke and Obi-Wan hire Han Solo and his lackey Chewbacca to fly a ship for them. In a deleted scene available only on adult pay-per-view, Han and Luke get into a wresting match during which Han completely overpowers Luke, rips off all his clothing and puts him in a dog collar. Luke turns completely subservient and becomes Han's little prison-bitch. (Ok, wishful thinking.)
* Darth had been a student of Obi-Wan years ago, but is now evil. They have a neat laser-sword fight.
* A bunch of other violent stuff happens, and then Luke, Han, Leia and Obi-Wan win the battle.
Now that wasn't so bad, was it?