In Space, No One Can Hear You (Day)Dream

I bought this USS Nostromo cap at Aw Yeah Comics in Muncie yesterday. I've wanted one ever since I saw them advertised in Starlog magazine starting in 1979. It was from the movie, Alien, directed by Ridley Scott. Mind you, I had never seen Alien. It was rated R and I was only 14 years old. We didn't have HBO or even cable for that matter, so it would be quite a while before I would actually see the movie. What I had done, on the other hand, was read the Heavy Metal comics adaptation (my first exposure to Walt Simonson's art) and I had read the novelization by Alan Dean Foster, who seemed to write every movie novelization back in those days. I sold a couple of books, and this was my reward.

Funny thing about growing up poor. While all of your friends are going to concerts and having their own cars, you kind of sit on the sidelines thinking that someday, you'll have your turn. You work just as hard as or even harder than they do, but your money goes toward other things that they don't have to worry about. And then you use your incredible gift of a nearly-free college education (received via scholarships and federal grants) to become...a teacher. Sure teachers make the median salary in the US, but for the education required, I might have done better with my degree in mathematics. Then you spend years trying to help your immediate and extended family, some of whom have made poor decisions about their lives. And they treat you like you're wealthy when you are anything but. I've still only attended one rock concert, and that was over 20 years ago. It turns out it just wasn't that important to me after all.

We may be going to Disneyland as a family in December, around my birthday. Magi has a school-related trip to Anaheim and a room to herself, so Sera and I might tag along. One of my buddies asked me to get him a lightsaber from Star Wars: Galaxy's End now that it is open. It wasn't when I was there in January. When he joked and said he wasn't sure he wanted to spend $200 on a build-you-own lightsaber, I agreed. Bah, I thought. I hate what Star Wars has become, grumble, grumble. But while I was driving almost three hours home yesterday, I had some time to reflect. I absolutely love long drives. It's really my only quiet time where I don't feel like I should be doing something else more productive. I found the original Star Wars soundtrack on Spotify and let myself be transported back to when I was 12 years old.

When I daydream about that kid and his absolute obsession with Star Wars, it makes me happy. I worked in my grandpa's garage a lot. I was allowed to use all the power tools once I was taught how to use them, and there was a shed full of scrap wood to which I could help myself. And his only rule was at the end of my time in the garage, all the tools had to be returned to their proper spots and the sawdust had to be swept up. I made so many toys. I made lightsabers, spray painted blue and red, with taped handles. I made Han Solo's blaster with a nail for a trigger and painted it black. I was also allowed to use a belt clip from a tape measure and screw it on so that I could wear it on a gun belt. I even built a 32-inch long Star Destroyer out of plywood and wood blocks. There were precious few Star Wars toys released in the year following the movie, but I had a die cast Millennium Falcon and X-Wing Fighter, as well as Darth Vader's TIE Fighter. And the Star Destroyer (it wasn't called that yet; it was just an Imperial Cruiser) made a perfect object to fly around. My days were filled with creativity and hands-on work.

And when I returned to 2019, I thought to myself, 12-year-old Jim would have killed to have the opportunity to build his own working lightsaber. So what if the movies made after 1983 haven't been to my taste? That kid wouldn't have even flinched if he'd had the money to do something like that. So, I'm going to start putting aside money right now and I will make my own lightsaber when I have the opportunity. It's time to do the things. If not now, when? I put off so many things when I was younger because I could simply never afford them. I majored in math instead of art because I wanted a steady income. I failed to pursue my dream of working in comics because I was afraid of not making my education pay off.

Okay, that might have been a smart move.

The point is, I can now do all the things I wanted to do when I was a kid. I still have my responsibilities, but it doesn't hurt to indulge once in a while, and satisfy that 40-year-old need or want that I've never forgotten.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.