When I was in high school, I had a friend named Laurie. Laurie moved to our school specifically for the school's drama program, which was excellent, and which I was deeply involved in.
Laurie was one of those people who could just transform everything to the sheer and absolute pinnacle of possible ludicrousness. I don't know how much of it she did on purpose because it entertained people, and how much of it she did because it was in her nature.
I quickly learned that Laurie's heart was promised to one man and one man only. She wouldn't even consider dating boys in our school, because she had to keep herself free for the man of her dreams.
The man of her dreams?
That's right. Not even young, Star Wars-era Mark Hamill. I mean, that was how she fell in love with him, of course, but she didn't care how old he was, or that he had a son who was approximately her age. Her heart was promised to Mark Hamill.
This was in the days of the Warner Brothers Studio Store over on 5th Avenue, and Mark Hamill would occasionally do appearances there to promote his role as the Joker in the various Batman cartoons. I might have been the only friend mad enough to join her and wait in line to meet him; I might have been the only friend who could easily be bribed when she promised to buy me Animaniacs toys.
I remember one instance in particular, when he had brought his family. He remembered us from the last time, and introduced us to his son, who I think was named Nate. Laurie struggled with the whole concept of flirting with the son of her one true love, and ended up deciding against it.
We used to watch Star Wars over and over again. In these days, there was only the one trilogy, just the three original movies, and they were in the process of being remastered, but hadn't been yet. So we're talking original, Han-Shot-First, no digital effects, Ewok song intact, unadulterated Star Wars. Over and Over.
Laurie spoke Ewok as fluently as a human being possibly could. She used to greet people in Ewok. I used to know a few words of it that I picked up from her, but I don't remember them anymore.
One year, and I don't remember if it was for Winter Holidays or for her birthday, I bought her a life sized cardboard cutout of Mark Hamill. Laurie professed to sleep with it in her bed. I am not sure how that worked out for her in the long term.
Eventually, when she broke down and did date a boy, it was a boy with fluffy, dirty blond hair that looked suspiciously like a young Jedi-in-training.
I had seen Star Wars before I met Laurie. I had seen it a few times, even in order. But I have to give her credit for the many, many brain cells in my head that are now dedicated to recalling entire scenes from those greatest of movies.
The last time I talked to Laurie, she was a performer in Sesame Street Live. How awesome is that?