The strange attraction of Boba Fett |

The strange attraction of Boba Fett

As I write from the waiting area at Cattle Creek VDubs, surrounded by all this German engineering, there’s a miniature metal Boba Fett staring at me from across the room.

He’s probably been constructed out of parts found lying around the shop, and he’s looking in my direction. I don’t quite know what to make of him, but there he is all the same, and I’m going to have to figure out how to negotiate him.

For those of you who don’t know who or what a Boba Fett is, perhaps this is the time to turn the page, or else be prepared to suspend disbelief, ’cause the learning curve is steep.

Boba Fett is, or rather was, a fictional bounty hunter who lived “a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” A creation of an earthling named George Lucas in his screenplays for “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” Boba Fett roamed the galaxy looking to get himself into situations that would improve his reputation as a baddie and help his retirement portfolio. In the end, I watched him fall into a living sandpit called the Sarlacc, where it was said he would be learning “a new meaning of pain and suffering for a thousand years.”

I’m serious ” if this isn’t making sense, go find out what Dilbert’s doing. But my guess is if you’re a Generation X-er like me, and male to boot, this might be breaking through.

In the playgrounds and backyards of my hometown, 1981-83, there was no bigger threat to the continued survival of Solo/Skywalker/Chewie and comrades than Boba Fett ” a faceless, armored, blaster-packing, taciturn thug. When we played Star Wars, guess who everyone wanted to be.

Part of our attraction to this particular villain’s mysterious nature was the simple fact that, at least among those who didn’t read the books but did go to the movies, we didn’t know anything about him. (A few decades later Mr. Lucas would seize on the impulse to overexplain everything, wringing every last dollar and ounce of energy out of the project in an extended toy commercial. Thanks, George ” now, where did I leave the rest of my childhood?) We liked that there were so many question marks floating around Boba Fett ” that though unknown, he was permitted to be, to intrude; that he was trusted to partner and parley with cheap and dark forces, to bargain over the cost of human bounty. We liked, in other words, that he was both powerful and accountable to no one.

I suspect, too, that we loved the Fett for some of the same reasons we still trade on for going to the movies: that through such characters we’re permitted to imagine ourselves for a time as a hero or heroine, a villain or villainess. And for pre-angsty tweens like me, there was the added attraction of seeing someone dwelling halfway in the light and halfway in the dark, someone operating out of a manufactured narrative about being loyal to none but himself, someone who could be nefarious by his mere presence.

What’s so odd is that though we’re years beyond all this narrative, I still look around me and see people trying to be Boba Fett. There’s a massive delusion ” a sense that we can be these disconnected players, that we can maintain an ironic distance from the action, that we can be primarily in the business of serving ourselves. How far do we think this is going to get us?

We can see what a silly little lie this is when it’s laid out in this way, but in the cut-and-thrust of everyday life, in a business posture and culture that place power at the feet of a few, it’s harder to see it coming, and it’s harder to fight it when it happens.

This is primarily a spiritual question of posture, of basic disposition, of how one sees the world. You can only sense it over time and seek to address it with the way you’re living. And if you can get there, well, you can get anywhere.

Meanwhile, the miniature Boba Fett across the room seems snootier than ever ” a little metal dude with a major attitude, and a sufficient reminder of our constantly clashing dual natures: good/bad, selfish/selfless, open/closed, known/inscrutable.

In the time it’s taken me to write the above words, the guys at the car place have been working hard for me. They’ve diagnosed my V-Dub’s inner workings with a stethoscope and have pushed the conversation from I-wouldn’t-drive-that-out-of-here to we-can-fix-it-soon. Even if they don’t make my deadline, the gumption and sense of service are the surest thing you know.

Thanks, guys. You’re so not Boba Fett.

The Rev. Torey Lightcap is priest-in-charge of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Glenwood Springs ( Torey and his wife have two children and live in New Castle.

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