My Star Wars story

My history with Star Wars is complicated. I was born in 1982. I was coming of age during that awkward period when people had forgotten about Star Wars. I have distinct memories of people my age saying things like it was old and outdated. Then the Special Editions happened and suddenly everyone was a Star Wars fan all over again. That’s what the Special Editions did. They didn’t erase your childhood, they breathed new life into a dying franchise.

I grew up in the days of VHS. I had Star Wars, as it was known then, on a recorded tape. Then one fateful day my dad recorded over it with a football game. Some stupid sports competition called the Super Bowl or something stupid like that. I hated football for the longest time for this.

I then recorded Return of the Jedi at the tail end of a VHS tape that was already full of other movies. Unfortunately the tape ran out right when Vader turned Luke’s lightsaber on the tape ended. I grew up for most of my life never seeing the ending of the film. I knew how it ended because I owned the storybook but still. My experience with Star Wars wasn’t tainted by nostalgia like it was for most people. I didn’t even get to see The Empire Strikes Back until I was in 3rd grade. Long after I had seen the first and third films a couple dozen times each. It was the missing piece of the puzzle. Yet I wasn’t a fan of the film. I liked it okay, it had a few key moments but for the most part I didn’t like it as much as everyone else. I don’t quite remember why.

Then in 1996 I got the Faces boxed Set on VHS. This was the last time the original unaltered trilogy was released on home video before the revised Special Editions would take their place. For the first time in my life I was able to watch the entire trilogy in order of release. This was game changing for me. The movies finally made sense. This was also around the time I discovered the books of the expanded universe. I quickly became a book nerd obsessed with those stories.

When I was 16 years old Star Wars returned to the big screen in the form of Episode One The Phantom Menace. This quickly became my favorite Star Wars film. It wasn’t long before the other prequels came out cementing their place in my heart while also locking me in as a life-long Star Wars fan. It took the special editions to get me to really become obsessed with Star Wars because they were finally more in line with the expanded universe which was alright with me. I also loved the newly inserted CGI special effects. The movies looked modern again. Breathtaking. I fell in love with CGI because of Star Wars.

I won’t recount my experience with the Disney fanfiction. I despise everything that has come since the Prequels. Okay that’s not entirely fair I liked the Disney Trilogy OKAY, especially The Last Jedi which was my favorite of the bunch. But I digress this is about the real Star Wars not the fanfiction.

What I learned over the years is everyone has their own vision of Star Wars. Everyone has their own preferred version of Star Wars. And that’s okay with me. I like that it has become such a phenomenon that people from all ages and all walks of life can get something entirely different out of it than every single other person. The larger community as a whole is extremely diverse. This has, unfortunately led to some division and derision in the fanbase but for the most part it’s kept the franchise alive, and that’s all that matters.

The Road to nowhere opens doors

This has been my life since I was 12 years old. Working dead end jobs. I started throwing newspapers at people’s front porches. I also had a side hustle racking leaves, shoveling snow, pulling weeds, even selling Kool Aid to construction workers before I got shut down by the tax man. I have done some jobs let me tell you.

In my short 40 years on this earth I have been working for more than I didn’t work. In fact at last count I was over 100 different jobs in my life. I have done a little bit of everything. I sent a long stretch of my life delivering pizzas. This was my first career change.

It started with Pizza Hut giving me a job. I hadn’t earned my GED yet so I was limited in where I could work. Thankfully you don’t need an education to throw pizzas at front porches. I signed up for the management training program that is designed to help store employees save up to buy their own franchises. I had a dream of owning my own Dominos some day.

Then I took my first detour. While still in high school I began chasing the American dream. In this instance I was chasing the stars. I wanted to be a hip-hop producer, famous rapper and DJ. Instead of putting my savings towards buying a pizza store I blew it all on opening a record studio. I produced a grand total of 5 underground records, 2 singles and about four or five music videos. It was a fools errand. I ended up losing my ass on the ordeal. I wound up homeless for the second time in my life. I ended up crawling back to mom and dad tail tucked between my legs.

I spent the next couple of years pursuing that elusive GED I failed to get while in high school. Once completed I opened up a whole new world of possibilities. I was finally qualified to run a cash register at a local gas station. I did this nights and weekends while pursing my next dream, YouTube celebrity. YouTube was brand spanking new. There was no template for what became a sensation. First there was Smosh peeing to the Mortal Kombat theme song. Then there was that fat guy lip synching that got famous over night. Everybody was chasing the next big thing. I started a website called Gamerz Jackpot. I lived in the town of Jackpot, Nevada and the website was devoted to video games. This was before let’s plays on YouTube were a thing.

My friends and I pursued that dream for a couple of years before the money ran out and bigger sites than ours got funding from Microsoft to go big. This left us in the dust.

I went through a period of denial. I had no idea what I was doing with my life. I even ended up enrolling in truck driving school on a whim. I had to sell my car to pay for it against my better judgement. At least I had support from my parents who thought trucking was a good fit for a loner like me. They were wrong. I flunked out of trucking school and went back to the drawing board.

Through a series of unfortunate events I found myself homeless for the third time in my life. This time I did something drastic. I applied for student loans, enrolled in the local University and began pursuing an actual career field. I studied mass communications. I had a dream of going to Hollywood and making it in the movies as a producer, video editor or camera operator/cinematographer. But somehow I ended up going into local news instead. This is where my life changed for the better. I finally found my passion. I was getting paid to be a writer. My dream had come true. I made it. I finally lived on my own merits. I had an apartment, bought a car with my own money and was living a pretty good life. I even bought a house on a piece of land.

Then COVID-19 changed everything. I ended up losing my job. Most news outlets went out of business or consolidated. The jobs were long gone. I decided to make a change yet again. I moved to the big city, Dallas, Texas. This was the first time I had ever lived in a town larger than 50,000 people. I was lost and on my own. I moved into an apartment with my cat, paid off my car and landed a temp job working in an office. I figured why not?

I spent the next two full years bouncing from one temp job to another. I did a little bit of everything yet again. I worked at a day care center. I was a mall Easter Bunny photographer. I even took a job at a thrift store collecting donations. I had hit rock bottom again. I was down on my luck with no path forward.

That all changed last week. Fate intervened. First I lost my job at the thrift store. Then after only three days of job hunting I landed what was the perfect job for me. Data entry for Samsung Electronics. Although I only started today I am optimistic about this new chapter in my life. For the first time in a long time I see a path forwards that doesn’t lead to another round of homelessness. That peace of mind is all I could ask for at this juncture in my life. Things are finally looking up for me and I couldn’t be happier.