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Confessions of a closet Jedi - Chris Goltermann

The Force is back next week - just in time for one final hurrah.

Star Wars creator George Lucas knows one important thing about his movies. You either love them or you hate them. There's no middle ground. And you can guess where I stand.

But I'm not about to sell you on Jedis or jawas, droids or death stars. That's for your own heart to decide.

Star Wars, simply put, is my childhood. Just like stickball, baseball cards in bike spokes and trying to wedge as many pieces of 5-cent Bazooka gum into one's mouth, I grew up with Luke and Leia, Artoo and C-3PO, Chewie and Han - even those fuzzy Ewoks. They're like family members that every time and again pop in for the holidays for just a few hours and then - poof, they're gone until next year or longer. Of course every family has the black sheep. Look at Jar Jar Binks.

So pardon me if I get all warm and fuzzy while waiting for Episode III or for me, Episode VI, since after 28 years it is bon voyage and may the Force be with you. At almost 32, I was lucky enough to remember my first trip to a galaxy far, far away in 1977 - even if my date was my mom.

Whatever it was - the fantasy, the special effects, or most likely the story - to which Mark Hamill has described it best as, "children's theater on a grand scale, with a pirate and a princess and a wizard and a farm boy," - I got hooked.

Still, there are Star Wars fans and ... crazy people. There's a fine line between enjoying the experience and ordering a quarter-pounder with cheese in a jedi robe and lightsaber. I don't know about you, but I don't have two weeks of my life to wait in line.

Me? I'm just a closet jedi thank you very much. And when George gets ready to release the Force again, the four-year old in me awakens.

Yet all of us have our dark side for something special that keeps the kid alive in all of us. Some of us can't part with comic books or baseball cards. Others have old 45s and LPs in their basements (that's music you high-schoolers).

In mine there are at least three dusty boxes full of figures, vehicles and a 12-inch Darth Vader ... ok, ok, it's a doll. But my doll can kick your doll's butt. They're still intact (and I checked this weekend) simply because I still care ... and because mom saved them from my father's evil wrath. Thanks mom.

But don't miss the point. My goal is for you not to plunk your $10 down for George's sake, unless you're a closet jedi like me. He really doesn't need the cashflow, since he practically built your local theater.

Instead, I hope that you'll reconnect with your own personal Star Wars, even if it's just for a few minutes now and then. Memories are a wonderful thing. So is eBay, if you can part with a couple of them, but that's not what's important.

Maybe it's a movie, maybe it's music, but confess. You have yours too. It's nothing to be ashamed about. Just give it a try.

Actually ... no. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.

Thanks Yoda.

Chris Goltermann is design editor for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 262 or by e-mail at cgoltermann@news-daily.com .