We lost a duke in January. Thin, white, and filled with energy and creation right down to his last days in New York City. We now lose a princess in December. Too warm to be truly caustic with her wit, too witty to be truly tragic in her struggles with her demons, and a fame that not even a Hollywood childhood could have prepared her for.

I wish I could say I was a Star Wars fan. I walked out on Star Wars in the summer of 1977, mostly because a few beers consumed prior to the screening presented me and my bladder with a choice: return from the washrooms to the theatre or walk from said washrooms, through the lobby, and outside to the sidewalk. I chose the latter, perhaps the worst choice of my life, unimpressed by the dialogue in the opening minutes.

Had I stayed and learned to love the characters and their action-hero dialogue, and the epic saga that would unfold film after film, I may have awakened my inner nerd. I would have switched from economics to computer science. In fact, a fellow camp counsellor from that very summer of 1977 would later that year, or sometime in 1978, rave about how her computer science professor had changed her life. Apparently showing her something “amazing” that computers could do. This was 1978, no smirking please.

I would have graduated – surely near the bottom of my class – around 1980. With my degree in computer science and several back-to-back viewings of The Empire Strikes Back lodged in my brain, I would have joined the world of software, in an age when a Merkle Tree would have been a well kept secret to all but the initiated. Ok, it still sort of is. And just as the PC was making it’s appearance on the desks of offices and homes across America and the world. A few years of frustrating work would have followed, and then sometime in the mid-80’s, after yet another viewing of Return of the Jedi, someone would have said: you have to go to Seattle. Or Silicon Valley. Where? Never mind.

By the time the prequel trilogy graced the waiting world in May, 1999, I would have had something to salve my despair at selling my stock options in 1996, rather than early 1999.

But no. I walked out of the original Star Wars in the last days of the summer of 77. And laid my inner nerd to rest. There would be no Seattle. Now or ever. But that great saga that George Lucas unleashed on a world that got what he was trying to do with film, right from that opening night in 1977, would arc it’s glorious storyline over decades, and would give the world Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, as well as Mark Hamill and the rest of the talented cast. Even if I still prefer Star Trek, in all its iterations.

It’s hard to say what additional contributions Carrie Fisher still had saved up to give to the rest of us, but they would have been substantial and amusing. But God’s Will has a way of having the last say. It’s been a long year. It’s been quite a year, and I’m showing my age. Happy New Year.


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