By Mike RuffinDid you celebrate Star Wars Day on May the fourth? Get it? Star Wars Day on May the Fourth’”as in ‘May the Fourth be with you!’ (If you worship in a liturgical tradition, the proper response is ‘And also with you!’)(I could go on to explain that it’s a play on ‘May the Force be with you,’ but a pun that has to be explained is a poor pun. That reminds me of a pun that appeared on many church message boards in the early days of email: ‘God answers knee mail.’ It was a pretty good pun, as church message board puns go. But then I saw a church message board that said, ‘Like email, God answers knee mail.’ I thought, ‘Way to disrespect the intelligence of your readers, church message board message writer.’ It struck me as condescending, which means to look down on).I’m a casual Star Wars Fan. I’ve seen all nine films that constitute the primary narrative. I’ve also seen Rogue One. I haven’t gotten around to Solo, but I have watched the Mandalorian series. I’ve seen none of the animated series, and don’t plan to.I said all that to say that I don’t care about Star Wars Day. I don’t observe it. I wouldn’t miss it if it never happened again. I mean, it’s harmless fun, but I don’t have time for such frivolity.Having said what I just said, I’d like to go on to observe that it doesn’t matter whether or not I am a true Star Wars devotee and whether or not I celebrate Star Wars Day. Frankly, I should keep my perspective on such things to myself. If you mention something that you enjoy that means nothing to me’”things such as birdwatching, ice hockey, romance novels, bungee jumping, card games, reading Latin, drinking Fresca, or listening to polka music’”I contribute nothing to the betterment of society by saying, ‘I don’t care about that.’ In that moment, all that should matter to me is that you care about it, and I care about you, so I should be happy for you. I should get joy out of your enjoyment, even if I have no idea why you enjoy it.My point is that I don’t see the point in saying what I don’t like. Besides, to do so can be a first step toward automatically responding negatively to anything that I don’t understand, that I can’t relate to, or that strikes me as being too new-fangled. I can’t do anything about the fact that I’m getting older, but I hope and pray I won’t become an old fogey.I wrote a poem about what I’m trying to say. It’s called ‘Hardening.’ It goes like this:Three score and ten seems fair.But if you feel pretty good as you get near it,four score starts to sound reasonable,four score and ten attainable, andfive score not out of the question.Then you think about how your minor arthritis might become major,your occasional forgetfulness might become frequent, and your declining hearing might go all the way down,and you tell yourself well, none of that would be so bad.Minor inconveniences requiring bearable adjustments.But what if you become more set in your ways, more stuck in your perspectives,more callous in your sympathies,less open in your search for truth?And you find yourself realizingyou’d rather go sooner with hardened arteriesthan later with hardened attitudes.You may not like poetry. If you don’t, see what I said above about things such as birdwatching, ice hockey, romance novels, bungee jumping, card games, reading Latin, drinking Fresca, or listening to polka music.
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