I honestly don’t even know why I’m about to share this story except for the fact that it gets a laugh out of everyone, and my wife thinks it would be good to tell. Besides, it’s Star Wars related, so it kind of works with the blog.
To say I took things too literally as a kid would be an understatement.
When I was in kindergarten, a third-grader on the school bus told me that I would get free candy if I showed my middle finger to the bus driver. “That’s all I have to do to get free candy?” I thought. Sign me up! The bus driver looks in her rearview mirror and sees me flipping her the bird as I smile ear to ear. Do you think there was any candy in my future?
Once I told my parents why this occurred, they realized I had no idea what it meant. They told me, and I felt horrible. My father told me kids would make fun of me sometimes and try to get me in trouble. He said if anyone bothers me, just say “Buzz off, bozo” and ignore them.
The next day, before I got on the school bus, my mother informed me that I would get to watch The Empire Strikes Back after dinner if I was good at school. I was, and maybe am still, a Star Wars junkie. My family must of set a record for how many times we rented it from the video store. I had never seen the sequel before, so my excitement was at an all-time high.
Indoor Recess arrives, and there were a plethora of toys to play with. Our teacher would go around to each student, in random order, and ask how they wanted to spend their free time. She asked Phillip what he wanted to do for recess, and he replied, “I want to use the Ewok Village.”
Oh hell no, Phillip!
Everyone knew the Ewok playset was my domain. I saw red. I played with it every day and never selected anything else. Plus, I knew Phillip wasn’t a real Star Wars fan because he called Darth Vader “Dark Vader.” The misfortune of being picked last landed me Snoopy’ s farmhouse.
This was unacceptable.
Now, I know the box on the playset is labeled ‘Return of the Jedi,’ which I hadn’t seen yet. It didn’t matter to me. The box said Star Wars, and that’s all I cared about.
As I pretended to enjoy myself, I glanced over at Phillip and noticed that (1.) he didn’t even know how to set up the damn thing, and (2.) he left all the Ewoks in the box. How are you going to use an Ewok playset and not even play with the Ewoks? I walked over to him and offered my services, and asked if I could play with him in return. He ignored me. I asked again, and he said no. I made the offer one more time, but he wouldn’t budge.
The teacher told me to leave Phillip alone. I stood up straight, looked her right in the eye, and with as much base as a five-year-old could muster in their voice, I said, “BUZZ OFF, BOZO.”
What do you think happened next? Time out became the only domain I knew, and a phone call home to my parents was a guarantee. I get home, and my mother immediately told me to go to my room and said there will be no Empire Strikes Back this evening. I was officially defeated.
Later on, my mom came into my room and asked me why I would do such a thing. I told her that I was only doing what Dad had instructed. With a puzzled look on her face, she told me to continue. I broke it down for her and explained the teacher interrupted me while I was trying to make a deal with Phillip, so in turn, she was bothering me and told her what Dad told me to say if anyone had done so. She was completely flabbergasted. She stared at me for a few seconds, and I wasn’t sure if she wanted to hit me or hug me. A few more seconds went by, and she patted me on the head and gave me a great big hug while telling me I can watch the movie after all.
Of course, my Dad wasn’t so lucky. My Mom read him the riot act and reminded him that he needs to be careful of what he said to me because of how literally I took everything. She also threw in a few words that I was unfamiliar with at the time. Looking back on it now, I can laugh while completely understanding why people thought I was a smart-mouthed kid. But hey, I live, I learned, I watched The Empire Strikes Back.