Monday, December 28, 2009

Generation S

Complete the following sentences:

“That’s no moon…”

“Well, my little friend, it looks like you got something jammed in here real good…”

“The ability to destroy a planet…”

“It’s not impossible. I used to bullseye…”

Chances are, if you could complete these phrases, you continued right on reciting dialogue until the end of the scene.

While those of us born between 1961 and 1981 are generally known by the term “Generation X” I would like to propose the official adoption of a title for a subset of this group born roughly between 1966 and 1974. That would be “Generation S.” “S” for Star Wars, of course. Specifically, this group would contain individuals born during this span of years who have at least one male sibling born between 1966 and 1969.

I was only 5 when the original Star Wars hit theaters on May 25th, 1977. If I hadn’t had a 10-year-old brother, I don’t know that it would have had as much of an impact on my life. As it was, after Dan saw the film with some friends, the whole family went and my sister (8), I (5), and my little brother (not quite 4) were forever changed by what we experienced.

This was before video rental, DVD players or Cable TV. We didn’t get to watch the movie over and over again ad nauseum. We saw it once. Once. And had to re-enact it thereafter in order to re-experience it. We did have an LP of the story which we played incessantly. This aided in our rote memorization of the entire dialogue which, then, aided us in our re-enactments. We also had the sound track album which instilled in us an appreciation for the emotional power of orchestral music (I cried every time I heard the swelling violins at the moment of Ben Kenobi’s death) We lived and breathed Star Wars. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have more childhood memories associated with Star Wars than any other single cultural entity.

My husband, Dan, is the same age as my brother…Dan. (This is a coincidence). It’s no surprise that our daily relationship dialogue includes the following references:
--When one of us has had a rough day and the other one asks, “Is there anything I can do?” the response is always: “Not unless you can alter time, speed up the harvest or teleport me off this rock.”
--When one us gets a little whiny and self-pitying, the other will chime in: “But I was going in to Tashi Station to pick up some power converters!” This really ticks off the victim, of course.
--When we’re having a difficult time getting one or the other of our kids to cooperate, we exchange looks over their head and one of us intones: “No reward is worth this.”
--When the kids are escalating into a sibling blow out, one of us might yell, “No blasters! No blasters!”
--As we’re driving through the streets of our neighborhood, presently piled high on either side with sheer walls of snow, I’ll murmur “Stay on target… Stay on target…”

Scarcely a day goes by, actually, when a choice piece of Star Wars dialogue doesn’t crop up in some fashion or other.

You can spot a Generation S-er pretty easily. Just this afternoon as I was driving home from South Minneapolis, I was passed by a car with the license plate: DRTHVDR. I’m guessing the driver was a male, approximately 40 years old. When my husband’s ancient Hyundai Excel was on it’s last legs (for, like, three years) I proposed we apply for the license plate: MLNMFCN (“Hear me, Baby? Hold together.”) Regrettably, we never got around to it. Ask a Generation S-er who his ultimate childhood fantasy woman was and he’ll universally admit that it was Princess Leia in her metal bikini get-up from Return of the Jedi. I even have a friend who’s firstborn son is named Anakin. Okay, that might be a bit over the top.

Now, while I cop to the fact that I am an über-nerd, I have to say that many, many Generation S-ers seem like the most normal human beings on the planet. Star Wars has so ingrained itself into my generation’s cultural DNA that even the most unassuming of my peers can correctly respond to the phrase “…sometimes I amaze even myself” by saying “That doesn’t sound too hard,” (and does so almost compulsively). Star Wars references appear in every form of artistic and commercial media. Then again, the sources of these materials (Generation S-ers for sure) might not be the most stunning examples of normalcy if they’re working in the entertainment industry.

But you can just as easily spot a non-Generation S-er. My mom, for instance, always thought Luke was cuter than Han. Not an S. A friend of mine once completely failed to react when I said snidely, “Don’t everyone thank me at once.” While she is my age, she lacks the necessary older sibling. In another instance, I have a friend whose older brothers were too old to become completely lost in the Star Wars phenomenon and, as a result, she’s only a borderline S-er. Her husband, I believe, is thoroughly Generation S and this disconnect between them has led to some misunderstandings and hard feelings in the past!

Come to think of it, we don’t just need our own Generational moniker, we probably need an entirely new designation on the Autism spectrum…

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.

1 comment:

  1. I thought that the Baby-Boom Generation covered the years 1946 through 1964. This would mean that Generation X began in 1965 and not 1961, yet one more reason to call it Generation S. May the Force be with you! Dad ;o)