Have you ever noticed that there are certain people who look the same from year to year, decade to decade, as if they have drunk from some fountain of immortal youth. Elijah Wood looks the same now as he did when he was thirteen, Matthew Broderick is still Ferris Bueller (I'm sure much to his chagrin), and even Michael J. Fox (despite everything else) looks like he just stepped out of a time traveling Delorean fresh from 1985. Unfortunately, we all do not age so gracefully.
Over the past few months I have been starting to feel my age. My ten year high school reunion is coming up, I have had a few medical problems which have acutely reminded me that I am no longer as spry as I used to be, and all my friends are not only married but are having babies, even as I remain noticeably single (much to my chagrin). Other reminders of the slow never ending march of time comes when I look at the world around me.
For instance, one of my favorite celebs, Harrison Ford, has not aged as gracefully as some of his colleagues. (Maybe it should have been Cowboys and Ancient Aliens.) Granted, Harrison is 70, but it is still hard to look at a man who spent his youth representing some of my favorite movie characters. The upside to all of this is that Star Wars Episodes 7, 8, and 9 are seeming less likely... Unless George Lucas' Olympic sized swimming pool of money begins to go down. (I hear he swims in it naked.) I'm sure he could just CGI the entire thing. Ironically, thanks to the movies, even as Harrison Ford gets older, the image of Han Solo remains the same.
More than anyone else, I have always found myself relating to Captain Solo. Being a Jedi is cool, but being a fast talking, quick shooting, ship flying smuggler always struck more of a cord with me. There is an inherent freedom to it all. The Millenium Falcon can take Han anywhere, and with his wits and blaster he can find his way into and out of whatever trouble the galaxy throws his way. The independence of that life mirrors the independence of youth, no responsibilities (except a few debts to crime lords), no entanglements (except your big furry co-pilot and a princess or two), and no cares (except always finding enough credits to keep your hyperdrive running.) Nobody tells Han Solo what to do, not even old age.
Maybe that is why my own, new found, geriatrics is so depressing. How can you shoot a blaster with arthritis, how can you chase after a squad of stormtroopers (only to be chased back in the opposite direction) with bad knees, and there is no way to make a hemorrhoid cushion look cool sitting on your pilot's chair. I suppose, age comes for us all, even Han Solo. In the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels readers get to watch Han as he gets married, becomes a respectable member of society, has children, suffers personal loss, and even has grandchildren. Maybe that's what bothers me the most. I may be older now, but unlike the Solo of those novels, in many ways I'm still the same old smuggler I always was. Han, on the other hand, does not just get older, he grows up. So what's my excuse?
And remember, you can always check out more at my blog: