The ecstasy and the eternal agony of Force Friday

I often wonder what my parents think of me. I’m 24, no girlfriend, still living with them. I go to work and have car payments and stuff, but other than that I have no real life aside from playing video games and watching wrestling. When I go out with friends, it really just means going over to somebody’s house and we sit around and play video games or watch wrestling.

So I wonder. Do they think I’m gay? Do they hate me? Are they disappointed I’m such a nerd and have no life?

I can already picture the scene of them waking up when they hear me come home sometime after 1AM with a bunch of Star Wars toys I just bought to celebrate Force Friday. I can see them giving me that sad look of disappointment tomorrow morning as I show off my conquest.

But right now, I couldn’t give any less of a shit because this is something greater than any of us. This is Star Wars.

I have been sucked into the marketing machine for the latest Star Wars flick, The Force Awakens. Target and Toys R Us are opening at midnight to celebrate the release of the new merchandise. Force Friday begins.

So here I am: a young man with no girlfriend and no life. Of course I have nothing better to do on a Thursday night than go wait for those stores to open so I can buy some new toys.

Maybe I should be embarrassed right now. Maybe I should try and lie to people and say I’m just going midnight toy shopping because I think it is funny. Maybe I could say I am really going to just give these toys to my nephew when he’s a little older. But I’m not going to lie to myself or anybody else about why I’m here.

I’m here for the Millennium Falcon. The creme de la creme of the many badass ships in the Star Wars universe. The ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. Han Solo’s ship. Yeah, Han Solo, the absolute coolest motherfucker in all of Star Wars.

This is all I want
This is all I want

You see, it was about 20 years ago that I was introduced to Star Wars toys. I had a good run through the late 1990s but moved on from them soon after the dreadful prequel trilogy started. I had some cool vehicles, like the X-Wing and the TIE Fighter, but the Millennium Falcon always eluded me, and that has burned me for years.

As a child, my mother told me that the Millennium Falcon was too expensive and that one day when I had my own money I could buy one. Well guess what, Mom. I’m a grown ass man with my own money, and I’m buying the Millennium Falcon tonight. And it will be proudly displayed in your house.

At least that’s how I hope it happens. I’m unbelievably stressed as I get ready to leave the house. People online think this is going to be as bad or worse than Black Friday. They think it is going to be an all-out war. I’m not prepared for this.

Of course, I could just go on Amazon at midnight, order the Millennium Falcon, and call it a day. But no. I’ve waited 20 years for this moment, I’m not waiting another two days for it to be shipped to me.

My friends and I go to Hooters for endless boneless wings to start the evening. I am so stressed out I don’t know if I can eat. I will need my strength for the coming battle, but it feels like keeping food down is going to be a struggle. The waitress asks what kind of wings I want. I don’t know. I just want the Millennium Falcon.

I don’t know how much it costs, and I don’t care. No amount of money is going to stop this from happening. The amount of nerds, however, might.

I’m sitting here nervously in the company of my friends Sean, Bill and Travis. Bill and Travis have some nerdy interests, but they pale in comparison to me. Sean is mostly normal except for the fact he’s been playing Pokemon Blue on a Gameboy Color he just bought. Still, this is a great crew to have with me. At Toys R Us we will be meeting our former 9th grade history teacher, Andy. I’ve known Andy for most of my life. His mother was my preschool teacher, and I spent considerable time with him during my high school years. He is a great man.

Andy is also a massive Star Wars fan. So much so that he texts Sean to let us know that he was the first person in line…at 8:30. We pay our bill at Hooters and head up the street to begin the waiting process. For a long time it is just the five of us hanging out in line. That’s it. Everybody online saying it will be a war, and it is just me and my friends. Andy makes small talk about Star Wars with random workers at the store, then with the two other random people that get in line. I feel awkward though.

I always knew I was a nerd, but even by my standards this is too much. Way too much. I’m learning a lot about myself I didn’t want to learn. The nerds that are so dedicated to Star Wars…I’m one of them. I’m as bad as them. I’ve been waiting in line since a little after 8:30 for Star Wars toys.

The big bad crew of nerds raiding the store before anybody else can get their hands on anything that I was so afraid of is me and my people. I can’t believe this. Not even the two dudes who showed up with lawn chairs and cardboard cutouts of Han Solo and R2D2 they stole from Latham Circle Mall 20 years ago are going to be able to stop this wave.

Eventually our former 8th grade earth science teacher shows up with his son and two of Andy’s kids. Then our friend Jeff shows up. Here we are rolling 10 deep to get some Star Wars toys. I’m feeling slightly embarrassed at the fact there are fewer than 20 people in line, and I know more than half of them. But as nerdy as this is, it is fun hanging out with this crew. I’m glad to be in this company.

My confidence is through the roof right now. We’re first, with an army. There’s no way I leave here without the Millennium Falcon. The 20 year wait is over. Soon it will be in my hands.

I’ve held the Millennium Falcon in my mind so many times. Obviously, in the grand scheme of life I understand there are better and more important things. Holding my nephew for the first time is the most amazing thing to ever happen, but getting my hands on the Falcon will be pretty monumental. I have yearned. I have longed. For years. All for this moment.

I'm too tired and nervous to be terrified right now.
I’m too tired and nervous to be terrified right now.

As the zero hour approaches, I get nervous as the line starts to get bigger. Finally we’re looking at over 100 people, but surprisingly none are in costume and all except a couple seem like functioning human beings. A store worker emerges and tells us we’ll be allowed in 25 at a time. Perfect. I’m going to get what I want. He also says there is a limit of three of each item per person. Guess I can only buy three Millennium Falcons then! As midnight approaches, a man in the Geoffrey the Giraffe costume starts waving at us through the glass doors. The minutes tick away. My heart is pounding.

Finally we’re allowed in. From Geoffrey we get some collector’s LEGO block with the new stormtrooper on it. From some random worker we get a poster with Kylo Ren. I follow Andy as he leads us straight to the back where the new merchandise is.

Then I feel my heart sink right through my asshole.

I don’t see the Millennium Falcon anywhere. Their selection is bizarre. I see the new TIE Fighter but not the new X-Wing. I see some random new vehicles but not all of the new ones. And I don’t see the Millennium Falcon. It is the most iconic ship in all of Star Wars. What the fuck?

No time to panic. I need to work quick before the store fills up. I grab figures of the new main characters: Finn, Rey, Poe, and new baddie Kylo Ren. A solid haul. I should be excited, but I feel numb. I can feel my heartbeat in my ears. I can’t find the Falcon. Finally I ask somebody who works there if they have it. Then they drop the bomb on me.

The store didn’t receive any Millennium Falcons. The whole reason I’m here tonight. The whole reason I’m going to work late in the morning. The one thing I have longed for all these years. I’m so hurt I don’t know how to even describe it.

I can’t even process what I see going on around me. I see a couple friends grab some of the merch for themselves, which does make me feel good that they’re enjoying the experience, but I when I ask what they’re getting their words don’t even register. I try to joke with my friends about some other toys we see in the store, but inside I am on fire. I announce that I will be going to Target shortly, and since I drove Bill and Sean they’ll have to come with.

I check out joylessly. It is cool I got the new main cast, but those were supposed to be bonus figures in addition to the completion of my life’s journey. As we walk back to the cars, Bill snatches the lawn advertisement since the store said they had plenty of extras. I am too sad and tired to say he shouldn’t do that, and instead decide I want it. We say our farewells to the rest of the crew, and now it is off to Target.

WTF do I do with this sign?
WTF do I do with this sign?

I’m excited. I’m hopeful. I don’t know why. Life has a funny way of making you pay dearly for being optimistic. I learn quickly that this store has also not received any Millennium Falcons.

This is a cruel reminder that life is nothing but pain. I don’t even know how to put this into words. This is such a stupid thing, but I’ve wanted it so bad. I thought I was finally going to get it, and instead I didn’t even have the chance. This hurts. And I feel like a fucking idiot because I’m a grown man and this shouldn’t bother me at all, let alone so much that I feel like my heart has been crushed. I need to make changes in my life.

To make myself feel better, I go home and spend the next hour trying to find one online. Walmart is sold out, Amazon doesn’t even have them. Now it is 2 AM and I’m watching the Star Wars special on QVC, hoping they have the Millennium Falcon. I am now going to the QVC website and I see that they don’t have what I want.

Why has this happened to me? Not just being denied the Millennium Falcon, but the fact I’ve become such a nerd that this has destroyed me and turned me into a lunatic. Let me stress right now – I am not crying nor will I cry about this. I’m not THAT insane. I’m just disappointed in these stores and myself. Why have I taken it so far? And why did Toys R Us do this to me?

The newest members of the family. Fuck Toys R Us, though.
The newest members of the family. Fuck Toys R Us, though.

As I get ready for bed, I reflect on how fun the evening truly was. It was great seeing everybody, and I love that we all came together over Star Wars toys. Of all the cool shit to unite over, this is the thing to make it happen. It was fun. It was real damn fun. I just don’t understand why I’m being challenged like this in my pursuit of the Millennium Falcon.

Oh well. Now to explain the four new action figures and the lawn sign to my parents in the morning. Feels good to be an adult.