The Ordinary Hero (Fathers Day 2017)

Today is June 17th, Saturday June 17th, and tomorrow is Sunday June 18th, Fathers Day 2017. I feel guilty because I did not launch on Friday and missed the poker game that Dad had with his friends.

I regret that I failed him yet again. This saddens me, but the sleep issues continue to elude my control.  I slept through the window of time for the poker game, and awoke when it was over, no chance to attend.

As I was attempting to fall asleep again, a series of images and words came to me. They were about Star Wars, George Lucas, Lucas’ mentor Joseph Campbell, and Campbell’s mentor Carl Jung who was briefly referenced in the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous. What came to me was a critical examination of the “first” Star Wars movie, Chapter 4 “A New Hope” made when Mark Hamill was a young Luke Skywalker, and a different “Prequel” from Rogue One.

What came to me was an idea for the “Journey of the Ordinary Hero,” and to focus on Skywalker’s adoptive parents, and their trials and tribulations as they try to make their family farm work and raise a young boy who might need protection from dark and sinister forces. “Crazy Old Ben” might make an appearance or two, but this probably should be done in passing. And the point here is an important one: many people are “heros” that live what might be considered an ordinary life from the vantage point of an outsider.

These are not people who wield light sabers or travel on space ships, but they are people who do the things necessary to set the stage for the hero who will emerge, someone who comes after them but who cannot quite become who they need to be without the foundation provided by the quiet and seemingly ordinary selfless parents who devote their lives to being the most honorable citizens that they can be.

I do not know if Lucas wrote character sketches for these adoptive parents of Skywalker or not. The look suspiciously similar to Jonathon and Martha Kent, Kal-El’s adoptive parents and early mentors before Kal-El comes to know his true heritage from Jor-El at some point after the Fortress of Solitude is built.

The fact is that many of us, not all but many of us, are precisely one of these variants if heroes. Maybe we are Owen Lars or Beru Whitesun Lars and we live humble lives as moisture farmers in the desert. Maybe we are Jonathon or Martha Kent. And maybe, just maybe, we are Luke or Kal-El and have not yet quite realized our potential.

I know that my father was, and is, a bit of both Luke and Kal-El. And in many ways Dad is both Owen Lars and Jonathon Kent.

Now he is an old man, and I am not certain how many years he has left. I am in his shadow, and I likely will never match him in his many accomplishments. The best I can hope for is to accomplish a few things of my own, at least some likely quite different from his.

I think Lucas, or perhaps someone else, should write a different prequel to Chapter 4, A New Hope. This prequel is about The Ordinary Hero, about Owen Lars and Beru Whitesun Lars and their lives and concerns and toils. It leads to the day that they will die at the hands of Storm Troopers looking for the missing droid. Written correctly, told correctly, it illustrates a powerful story that is quite different from the standard light sabers and space ships Star Wars stories.

Maybe it would never be made into a movie, I do not know. But I think maybe it could. But, even if it were not, it is a story that needs to be told.  We need to know how Owen and Beru Whitesun Lars became the people we briefly meet.  It is they who are Luke’s first mentors, not Obi Wan.