So, when I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be Luke Skywalker. Not whiny farmboy Luke or patience-challenged who-is-this-muppet-and-where-the-hell-is-Yoda Luke, but kick-ass, calm and cool and awesome Return of the Jedi Luke.
To pursue this lofty goal (as, I should mention, an 11-year-old girl living in small-town Pennsylvania), I did a number of things. First, wardrobe. Very important. Black shirt, black pants, black boots, black leather glove on one hand. Check. Next, attitude. I amassed an impressive amount of Jedi knowledge through meticulous study of the three Star Wars films and related books, magazines, etc. Finally, action. I fenced for hours with various lightsaber-esque weapons (sticks, curtain rods, ski poles, etc.), I rode my bike at breakneck speeds to emulate the desperate flight through the forests of Endor on speeder bikes, and most importantly of all, I spent an inordinate amount of time staring at rocks and pencils and various other small objects, attempting to move them with the almighty power of my mind. (Sadly, the Force was not strong with me, though I did get rather adept at subtly tilting the table so the pencil I was concentrating on MIRACULOUSLY AND AMAZINGLY began to move as I stared at it.)
And in the end, did I achieve my goal of becoming Luke Skywalker? Well…in fact, no. But my time in pursuit of Jedi-dom did mold my psyche in some pretty deep, lasting ways. My sense of right and wrong, my urge to help people who need it (despite my own rather strong introvert tendencies), and the general sense that there’s good in most people, even if they’ve gone a wee bit crazy and murdered half the galaxy while wearing a freaky black mask. (And really, haven’t we all been there?)
My point, I suppose, is that Luke Skywalker was probably the biggest fictional role model of my young life, and even today I can see his influence on the way I think and how I view the world. And really, I’m okay with that. I still think Luke’s pretty awesome, and he represents a lot of the things I aspire to be. Will I ever be able to move objects with my mind and do crazy flips and communicate telepathically with my sister who I absolutely was not hitting on just one movie ago? Alas, probably not. But I’d like to think that I can at least aspire to be a calm, in-control person who always tries to do what’s right, and maybe looks pretty spiffy dressed all in black.
Wise words, Luke. Wise words.