What Abandoning Cars Can Teach Us About Star Wars

Republibot 3.0
Republibot 3.0's picture

This actually came up in conversation in the comments about nine months ago, but I thought it bore repeating:

One of my college roomates, Jim the Idiot, had a piece of crap car his last two years in high school. Never ran right, always on the edge of dying, maybe worth $300, but he put about a grand into it every year. Even though he was a pusher in high school, he could barely afford to keep it running. I guess he wasn't a very good pusher.

Anywhoo, he grew to hate it, so, once he graduated, he and three of his friends decided to go on a road trip and just run the thing until it died. This took place in Naples, Florida. The car made it all the way to Las Angeles, and they really didn't know what to do with it now that they'd made it all the way there. They decided to just keep heading west in hopes that the car would die between the outskirts and the beach. It didn't.

It was about 3AM by this point, no one around, so they drove the thing onto the beach, and into the water, and kept on driving as far as they could go before the engine finally siezed up or blew or flooded or whatever engines do in that situation. They they rolled up the windows, locked the doors, tossed they keys in, closed it up, waded out of the surf, got a cab to the nearest bus station, and went home again.

About three months later, he got a call from the LAPD asking why he'd driven his car into the ocean.

"My car is in the ocean?"
"Yes sir, there's a large fine for that."
"I'm not paying it! I didn't drive my car into the ocean, why would I do a thing like that? It was stolen!"
"Your care isn't listed as stolen."
"It was worth $300, why would I bother? It'd just make my insurance rates go up."
"Oh. Well, would you be willing to come to California and remove it from impound?"
"Oh, well, have a nice day, sir."

This really has nothing to do with Star Wars, I just like the story, and as it's a quarter century old, I don't get much opportunity to tell it.

But if we're looking for a metaphor to attach to it, Star Wars works: It's a franchise I've grown to hate, and I do just wish it would die, but it just keeps going and going and going, until finally you *try* to kill it, just to get it back to your life so you can get back to selling illicit drugs to children, and still it haunts you.

Well, ok, 'hate' is probably too extreme, and the 'illicit drugs' thing doesn't fit now that I think on it, but the rest of it tracks: I loved it when I was 10, loved it more when I was 13, loved it a little bit less when I was 16, was embarrassed for it when I was 36, hated it, but still hoped for it when I was 39, and even though it was pretty good again by the time I was 42, I couldn't help but resent its very existence.

I'm done. I'm just done. I can't watch it anymore. I've paid for the same movies like 10x in different formats ("Now with the picture digitally modified so all the guns have been replaced with walkie talkies so it's less violent and more suitable for kids!" "Now re-edited for your enjoyment so the music includes more bassoon!") I'm just done. There's only so many times I'll pay for the same thing, and with Star Wars, that point SHOULD have been about five years ago.

"Hello, Mr. Republibot?"
"We've found your childlike sense of wonder abandoned in the ocean at the beach..."<<<