by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

There are people who do so much in life yet feel as if they’re standing still. And then there are those who are really standing still.

Which brings me, once again, to the sad and pitiful story of the line waiters for “Star Wars.”

Two years ago, I wrote about these poor misguided souls — adults, not children — who sat outside a movie theater waiting for “The Phantom Menace.” Not for hours. Not for days.

For months!

I pointed out that this was, with all due respect, an utter waste of life. For that, I was immediately beamed onto their Web site as public enemy No. 1, and I suppose the only thing that kept me from being chopped into tiny pieces by a light saber swung by a Jedi Knight is that, and listen carefully, kids — IT’S NOT REAL!

With that in mind, let’s check out the 2002 version of “Too Much Time on My Hands.”

Currently, the madness is led by two guys in Seattle — clearly over-caffeinated — who have been in line since Jan. 1. That’s right. The whole year. Waiting for the May 16 opening of the next “Star Wars” film, the follow-up to “The Phantom Menace,” a movie that led one British critic to write, “Nothing has the right to bore us this much.”

The new film is called . . .

“Attack of the Clones.”

Oh, boy.

Time to get a life

These two guys, John, 32, and Jeff, 24, (I am omitting their last names out of respect for the families) are living in a tent in the parking lot of the Cinerama, a Seattle theater. The tent is an upgrade. For the first few months, they lived on the sidewalk.

Their days are mostly spent sitting, and sitting, and answering questions from curious citizens.CITIZEN: What are you doing?J&J: Waiting for “Star Wars!”CITIZEN. Ha! No. Really. What are you doing?

They also give interviews. Many interviews. Newspapers. TV. CNN. Which puts them up there with other important people, like Darva Conger.

And they maintain a Web site. On it, they explain their mission as “Fun, Art and Charity.”

The “fun” apparently, is in sitting around and signing people for the Seattle Star Wars Society.

The “art,” they say, is in “capturing the evolution and journey of waiting for a single event.”

Oh, man. Where were these guys when I was lying on the couch as a teenager?MOM: “Get up! Do something!”ME: “I am doing something, Mother. I am capturing the evolution and journey of waiting for a single event.”MOM: Oh.

What if the movie stinks?

A word about the “charity.” This is the same deal as last time. The waiters try to line up sponsors who pledge a small amount for every hour they sit there. It does raise a few bucks. It’s also a nice cloak in which to hide.

But when I called a line in L.A. and offered to give the total amount raised last time if the person just went home, he refused. The truth is, these people want to be there. Yet if they had taken every day since Jan. 1 and worked in the community, or gone door to door, or volunteered in a hospital or a cleanup crew, they would have accomplish charitable acts tenfold what they’re doing now.

And they wouldn’t get stuck with a dumb movie at the end.

Which, by the way, is fully possible. “The Phantom Menace” was such a colossal nothing (remember Jar Jar Binks?) that even Ewan McGregor admitted “it was kind of flat.” And he was the STAR!

Hear that, John and Jeff? Of course not. They are probably busy zapping this column into cyberspace, for the Wookiees to read.

I thought Sept. 11 was supposed to shake us from our inanity. I guess not. Also on their Web site are reports of daily adventures, including a perfect tale about a homeless man who actually lives on Seattle’s streets. A man who has no choice. He saw their tent, pulled off his pants and defecated.

“We got pictures,” they said.

But not the point.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com. Catch “Albom in the Afternoon” 3-6 weekdays on WJR-AM (760).


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

New book, The Little Liar, arrives November 14. Get the details »

Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

Subscribe for bonus content and giveaways!