I spent the first 19 years of my life blissfully unaware that there was a portion of the population who was absolutely obsessed with Star Wars. While I did not grow up under a rock and was fully aware of what it was, I had never actually seen any of the movies. Little did I know that years later, my life would become engulfed in this “culture” whether I liked it or not.
It all began in the early 1980s when a young boy was introduced to the original Star Wars trilogy and instantly fell in love with the story, cast of characters, and, later, mass-produced toy lines. He spent his childhood watching the movies countless times, collecting all the action figures and other miscellaneous memorabilia, and counted the days until the next wave of movies were released.
Later, boy met girl, and girl was misled into believing that his Star Wars interest was within the realm of what is considered “normal,” so girl agreed to marry him. All was well with the world until first child was born, and then husband’s true addiction was revealed. It was subtle at first: a few storage containers containing Star Wars toys from husband’s childhood mysteriously appeared in the storage room. Then, however, talks revolving around a Star Wars nursery began. Phrases like “the force is strong with this one” and “Luke I am your father” were dropped into daily conversation.
Before I knew what was happening, I found myself in Pottery Barn Kids, dropping an obscene amount of money on every conceivable piece of Star Wars room décor imaginable for a 1-year-old, who, for the record, only has a fleeting interest in it. Then baby number two arrived, and I am hoodwinked once again into believing that we would somehow damage his poor little soul if we did not create an equally over-the-top Star Wars themed bedroom for this completely unaware infant. This was obviously followed by Star Wars clothing, pajamas, toys, books, movies, backpacks, luggage, etc. This was where I assumed it would end because at that point, I thought we had completely run out of merchandise to buy…oh, how silly I was!
Then, the real craziness began. Those few childhood storage bins morphed into refrigerator-sized boxes filled with classic figures. These were quickly joined by shipment after shipment of additional characters to complete collections or new specialty lines entirely. Before I even knew what had happened, my entire basement storage area was overrun with Star Wars EVERYTHING!
My husband spends hours scouring toy websites, dealers, obscure fan forums, and probably even the dark parts of the web for information regarding new lines and character releases. He makes weekly trips to the craft store to painstakingly recreate his favorite scenes from the various films. He even went as far as preordering not one but two! of an exclusive special one-time manufacturing run of a giant four-foot long sail barge that now resides in my house.
He often jokes that this is his hobby, and I am lucky that he doesn’t golf…HA!…all while the kids spend hours with him hanging out in the storage area, sitting in their Star Wars papasan chairs with matching ottomans in front of a TV hooked up to a VCR, so that they can watch the original cut VHS versions of the movies.
While I am not thrilled with the insane level of Star Wars I have had to adapt to, one of the bright spots that has come out of all of this is that over the past six years, we have donated thousands of dollars’ worth of Star Wars toys to children’s hospitals, Toys for Tots, and other charities, so that all children can experience a little bit of that magic. In all of the toy stalking my husband engages in, he frequently stumbles across close-outs, mispriced merchandise, and other heavily discounted items that he buys in bulk and stores for later donations.
While I may poke fun at him for dragging me kicking and screaming into his uber-fandom, I see the overwhelming joy it brings him to see his boys sharing in his excitement. He also feels a sense of duty to make sure that every other child, regardless of circumstances, has the opportunity to fall in love with Star Wars just like he did.
I guess I can sort of see why it brings him so much enjoyment, but if I ever run into to George Lucas, he definitely owes me a high-five. Until then, I guess I will start looking for support groups for similarly afflicted wives of full-blown Star Wars addicts.