Monday, January 18, 2016

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

When I was a kid, I grew up in a house with a dishwasher. It was kind of a fascinating invention for a 9-year-old. Dishes go in dirty, come out CLEAN! When I got old enough, I was allowed to load the dishwasher, but not before I cleaned off the dishes first, which even at that young age confused the heck out of me -- why am I cleaning dishes when the dishwasher is going to do it for me?

When I was 12, we moved. The new house didn't have a dishwasher. And my folks, who realized they had real, live dishwashers living in the house with them, didn't feel the pressing need to buy the mechanical kind. So, they didn't.

After that, through years of living in other places and settling into my own home, none of my residences featured a dishwasher. To this day, the last time a dishwasher existed in the same living space as me was in 1978.

Because of this, my brain considers the dishwasher a relic of the 1970s, like the Sony Walkman and olive green wall phones. It's as if the dishwasher stopped existing once the '80s began.

Of course it hasn't. And when I mention the '70s dishwasher thing to other people who have enjoyed the luxury of the dishwasher their entire lives, they look at me strangely -- a lot like other people look at me when I say I have no desire to watch the latest Star Wars movie.

Much like the dishwasher, Stars Wars -- to me -- is a relic of the '70s. I hold no ill will for Star Wars. When it came out in 1977, I was an instant fan and I saw the movie that year and I loved every minute of it. I collected the cards, I wanted the action figures, I listened to that Meco record over and over, I have nothing but warm fuzzies for all of that stuff.

In 1980, when the Empire Strikes Back came out, I ran right out and saw it. Loved that, too, even more than the first one. And, then, in 1983, I saw Return Of The Jedi. I liked that one, too, although I was getting a little tired of (or too old for) the whole thing.

The real enjoyment -- the thrill of seeing a space movie that no one had ever seen before -- was rooted in the '70s. It is a '70s thing for me, even if, like the dishwasher, it is alive and well today.

So, when the franchise ramped back up in 1999 with The Phantom Menace, I paid no mind. I was a new father with an infant, what did a I care about a fantasy space movie? And so it continued through all of the other sequels. Didn't see them, had no desire to see them. I can't even tell you the names of the other movies without looking them up.

I'm not a big movie watcher anyway. And when I watch a movie now, I prefer that it has some element of reality to it -- specifically that it happens here on earth. I don't shy away from fantasy movies, but I'd rather that there is something I can relate to here in this life. I know there are real-life issues in Star Wars. But I can't explain it any more than that. The whole Star Wars thing just doesn't interest me anymore, and hasn't since the early '80s.

So, you're wondering -- if you got this far -- why do I have a rack pack of Star Wars: Journey To The Force Awakens cards in my possession?

Fair question.

I was in Rite Aid a week or two ago. I had the pack ripping urge bad. But I couldn't go anywhere else, it would have to be Rite Aid or nothing. I headed for the small hanger display by the register, hoping for one of the repacks Rite Aid always has. But there were no repacks. The only sports cards available was one hanger pack of 2013 Topps -- no thanks -- and some football thing.

And there was a rack pack of SWJTTFA (what an awkward name).

"This might be interesting," I thought. And that's how I ended up with it.

Inside I found what everyone knows about already because everyone on earth has seen the movie 7 times and completed the million parallels and autograph sets that exist with this set.

So I'll go through this very quickly.

First four cards. The blue starfield design is the "base card" and resembles the first Star Wars cards that came out in 1977. This is why I bought these -- because Star Wars cards are a link to my childhood in a way that the new movie is not.

My brother and I and our friends bought a lot of the blue Star Wars cards. And we bought a lot of the Series 2 red cards. And we bought a few of the Series 3 yellow cards. And then only the diehards bought some of the Series 4 green cards (I wasn't a diehard). I don't think I ever saw a Series 5 orange card back then. Everyone had moved on to Close Encounters, or The Jerk, or whatever was happening next.

Star Wars is such a part of my childhood that I'll definitely be picking up at least one 1977 card to put in my '70s TV/movie binder.

From what little I've read, the cards feature scenes from all of the past movies, as well as previews for The Force Awakens. The silver parallel "Rey takes off," for example, is a preview card. I'll get back to Rey in a second.

The Concept Art card is an insert card. It resembles very much some of the cards from the '77 series that I disliked when I was a kid. I don't really remember what was on them, drawings of some sort. But I wanted to see action from the movie, man, not drawings!

OK, back to Rey.

Like every red-blooded male, Daisy Ridley has turned my head. I haven't even seen the movie and I like her. She's got a Martina Hingis thing going and if you know anything about me, you know I can't get enough of Martina Hingis.

I'm not the only one who thinks this either:


The green card is a "Jabba Slime Green" parallel. I know I'm supposed to hate all of the parallels in this product, but honestly it's the only thing -- outside of a bit of nostalgia -- that interests me with the set.

Also, I'm very happy to get an R2 D2 card. Artoo was my favorite when I was a kid. I'm sure a million kids said the same thing.

I'm rather impressed with the card stock. These were printed on Heritage-style stock and they seem even sturdier than the original '77 cards.

So, anyway, there you are.

No factoids about past movies -- I can barely remember the original ones and I haven't seen the last four. No dissection of plot. No nerding out on backstory minutiae or character development. I just don't care enough to know enough.

Really all of the enthusiasm over the franchise baffles me. I'm glad so many like it, because I liked it too when I was a kid. But I'm not going to analyze why it's become even bigger than it was back in the late '70s.

For me, Star Wars will always be right there with the dishwasher, stuck in the '70s. That's entirely not the case for either the movie or the dishwasher, but I've moved on. I'm pretty sure I'll never see The Force Awakens -- Daisy Ridley or not -- and it's not because I'm trying to be a hipster or anything. It's just that phase for me is simply gone. It's not in me anymore.

I wash my dishes by hand now. I'm OK with that.


  1. Every time I see cards from this new Star Wars set, I'm tempted to buy some. I have fond memories of collecting the 1980s ones (and buying sets of the 1970s ones at early 1980s sportscard shows). But I don't love them enough to commit the cash to buying enough packs to build the set and I know if I bought a full set, I'd look at it once and then it would just become "clutter."

  2. The thing Star Wars has been able to do really well that has allowed it to stay a multi-billion dollar franchise is that it's cultivated a new generation of fans as they keep being born/arriving.

    You've got a generation of people who grew up with the original trilogy. You've got a generation of people who grew up with the prequels. You've got several generations of people who grew up with various other Star Wars related things. And you've got this new generation that's going to grow up with the newest trilogy. And chances are Disney will keep that train rolling for as long as it's profitable (owning the franchise basically prints money). Barring some dramatic shift, Star Wars is going to be a ubiquitous presence in western society soon (if it isn't already).

  3. I don't have a dishwasher either, and it doesn't bother me one bit. I actually find washing dishes by hand somewhat therapeutic.

  4. There's a dishwasher in the house that we've just recently purchased but we've never turned it on yet and may never will. It's just the two of us and our baby so not a lot of dishes are dirtied up, not an unimaginable amount anyway.

    I've watched most of the Star Wars flicks over the years but I wouldn't be able to tell you what happens in which ones anymore. When the Phantom Menace was released in theaters, I vaguely remember being interested in it. I know for sure I saw it and spent quite a few hours on my computer playing the Star Wars Episode I Pod Racing game.

  5. I discovered the new SW cards at the Dollar Store this past Friday. I picked one up to look at the package, hoping one of my daughters would be excited about the find and give me an excuse to buy one. No interest from them although they've watched the movie.
    In the end, I realized I was not interested to spend the buck, so, just like in the 70's and 80's, I didn't buy one. . . and life goes on.

  6. I'm not convinced dishwashers actually save any time. Maybe a little. But I still use mine as long as the dish fits. They do allow you to procrastinate...

    Star Wars is my other great obsession. I never grew too old for baseball cards, so I don't think I'll ever grow too old for Star Wars. To me, it's great storytelling and just plain old cool. I read about a lot of hard core fans being mad that Disney bought the franchise. I don't take it that seriously - that's why I like Star Wars, it's fun.

    I've never crossed my card collecting with Star Wars, though. Interesting thought.

  7. You should be happy you never subjected yourself to the prequels.

  8. I'm with you on Star Wars...first one lost me and I never bothered to catch up.

    As for dishwashers....mine was down for about a week so I bought $50 worth of paper plates, cups and plastic-ware and forbade my family from using a dish. I refuse to live without one.

  9. "-- and some football thing." LOL!

  10. My dishwasher is pretty crappy, so I basically prewash everything by hand. Best of both worlds? lol

    If I ever come into a really desirable Dodgers card I don't want, I'm totally going to use it to bribe you into watching all the Star Wars movies back-to-back.