A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, one little towheaded miscreant of mild suburban means found solace in the chaos of destruction. While it may have been a predictable choice of what we used to call a "hobby" (as in "You really should find a hobby or else you'll grow up to be drunk and gay" Mom, 1978), I attempted to make my obsession with plastic action figures not named Barbie or Ken a little bit more proactive than most.
Princess Leia would be twirling her hair in the ladies' room of the Millennium Falcon while Han Solo and Luke Skywalker would be sneaking a kiss-and-grope in the command center. Obi-Wan would be cruising around the burnt-orange shag carpet in his brown floaty thing, possibly with a metal detector bleeping in search of my lost Timex, and Darth Vader would probably be attempting to cram Yoda up his posterior in some psychosexual manifestation of the age-old good versus evil disagreement. All was right with the (other) world, and the legion of gay storm troopers would do nothing to stop it just stand and then fall into the wobbly detritus of late-'70s apartment carpet living.
Then my friend Chris (who would always say "tank" instead of "pretend") and I would co-conspire some sort of velocity-heavy pandemonium that would ruin absolutely everything.
"Tank that there was a black hole in hyperspace that would yank the X-Wing into the Y-Wing, creating an explosion that would engulf everything and everybody in flames," Chris would crow, with a light lisp.
"Ooooh, how chromosomal," I would think to myself, smashing everything into a pile of rubble. "Arrrrrrrrr," is about the only noise I would actually make. Then I would bend every figure's legs and arms back into contortions and stage a survival situation that involved each of the main characters slithering out of the wreckage on their ketchup-covered bellies.
I was nothing if not hopeful.
Tonight, though, I'm just uncomfortable. I'm joined by copy editrix Jessica who is even more uncomfortable in her sci-fi-ready, Yves St. Laurent, 6-inch platform, gold-bottomed shoes for something of a dive back into the fiction known as science.
"I have to walk like Barbie in these," she Barbarellas. "Where are you taking me?"
Now, in all fairness, science fiction is gross. The oddly chosen lifestyle of aging pudges with metaphoric disabilities is hardly alluring on the flirt-and-burp drinking climb; it's embarrassing and just plain mealy-mouthed ugly. The Wrath of Khan? Chaka, obviously.
Tonight, the Orlando Science Center is hosting its monthly "Cocktails and the Cosmos" conflamma, hooking its theme in a timely manner around the pending Star Wars resurgence. Storm troopers and various troubles and Tribbles are promised as the Wars and the Trek are momentarily conjoined for the purposes of employing extras who might otherwise be resigned to whittling away their evenings in front of their X-Boxes. Something of the Trek type awaits us at the other end of the skywalk (geddit?) leading to the ticket counter.
"Mlbeep," the short gnome of urethane embellishment greets us, sadly devoid of any noticeable sexual traits or reason to be throwing breath in our precious direction.
"Were we just greeted in Vulcan?" interprets Jessica, forever an editor.
I can only assume so. Either that or Ewok.
"I don't understand you or else I would say 'hi,'" worries a person behind us, possibly coining the best pickup line ever. Genius.
It doesn't take long for us to teleport over to the makeshift bar table, looking for a little bit of lubrication for our weary droid joints. Tequila seems to be the libation of the evening, mostly because it makes both of us meaner than we actually are. In our midst is a scattering of photo-ready storm troopers, and some who aren't quite there yet, preferring to go maskless for the pre-gig pizza that matches their complexions. I put my drink down on a table and scamper away to scribble some notes about me trying to pick up Klingons while Jessica bumps pelvises with storm troopers, and find myself counting the number of hairs on the backs of necks of 30-somethings who still choose to immerse themselves in otherworldly charades.
"Mmmm, maybe somebody will slip me some sort of Star Trek date rape drug," I eye my drink hopefully.
And it's possible, seeing as just outside the elevator one storm trooper is stroking the other's codpiece to check its protective features. I'm stuck on the thought of what it must smell like in there. I would imagine that plastic codpieces don't, er, breathe well. Scratch the storm trooper idea. Scratch and sniff.
Sniffing around for something of any sort of merit to do, Jessica and I come across Eliza, "the computer psychologist." With that pixilated font and giant bleeping cursor peculiar to computers built before 1985, Eliza beckons us over with a simple monochrome query of "How do you do? Please tell me your problem?"
"I hate everybody," I type as a Trekkie with a half-assed butthead mount atop him cruises by. "Is there something about you that you dislike?" Eliza mouths back. Plenty.
A quick reset and Jessica's on Eliza's snooty tail.
"I need shoes," Jessica types.
"What do shoes have to do with this discussion?" Eliza snaps Jessica's heel.
"That's hostile," Jessica types back.
"I don't think I understand you fully."
We quickly decide that therapy is stupid, but not as stupid as we are. Jessica attempts to dismantle the computer's diplomatic insensitivity with a simple phrase in repetition, while I consider just how valuable its random comebacks might be to the production of this very column.
"That's hot," Jessica types, over and over again. After about 20 strokes of the Hilton tagline, Eliza's had it. "Does this have anything to do with the fact that your eyes?" she comes back incoherently.
"This is how Paris Hilton did it," Jessica sums up the American science. "She dumbed us down into submission."
Um, I don't think I understand you fully.