The stage is set. “Interior. Death Star — Hallway leading to main forward bay. Ben hurries along one of the tunnels leading to the hangar where the pirate ship waits. Just before he reaches the hangar, Darth Vader steps into view at the end of the tunnel, not ten feet away. Vader lights his saber. Ben also ignites his, and steps slowly forward.”*
Vader: “…When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.”
Imagine being greeted with these few words — and a bit of a sinister laugh — every time you go for one of your physical therapy sessions. Rather intimidating it could be to have someone who is going to push your body hard utter those words. That’s the greeting I receive twice each week when I show up for my physical therapy sessions. (Luckily, it’s all in good fun!)
Was the Force at work when I called to set up my physical therapy sessions? At random, I was paired with Sam — a Star Wars fan! We talk a lot about the galaxy far, far away as he puts me through my paces on my road to recovery. (That’s probably good since it helps distract me from the intensity of the workouts geared solely to getting my left arm back in shape. lol) Sometimes I think Sam enjoys his role as master just a little too much. 😉 With a twinkle in his dark eyes, he was quick to point out that his favorite characters throughout the Saga are those who have more Dark Side tendencies. Uh oh, I thought to myself when I heard this revelation. I’m very much a Light-Side-of-the-Force fan. I could see it right from the very beginning. There would be some — good-natured 🙂 — confrontations taking place during our meetings. I would try my best to bring Sam to the Light Side of the Force. So far, I have not been succeeding. “The Dark Side characters are more interesting,” he explained matter-of-factly. I suppose that just depends on one’s point of view. 😉
Getting back to the last confrontation between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi…
The first time I saw Star Wars, I couldn’t help coming away from the film wanting to know more about these two icons — one of good, one of evil. They obviously had a history. What was that history? I don’t know if you were like me, but I concluded Vader always was evil. Yes, Vader made that comment about “being the learner.” However, exactly what did he mean by that? How could someone as evil as Darth Vader was have any kind of close connection to someone as good as Obi-Wan Kenobi? Remember — there were no prequels at that point. There wasn’t even a “The Empire Strikes Back” to point out that Vader had — at one time — been Obi-Wan’s padawan, and dedicated to the Light Side of the Force. Was Vader just taunting, goading Obi-Wan as the two faced off on the Death Star? That obviously was not their first meeting. And just what made Vader believe he truly was stronger than Obi-Wan? Here was a Jedi who could feel the death of the multitudes living on some far away planet! In my book, that’s a pretty darn strong indication that someone has some incredible powers! Vader was pretty full of himself, thinking he was stronger, better than Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan pegged Vader correctly: “Only a master of evil, darth.”
I may be a huge Luke Skywalker fan, but I must admit that it is the relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader that always has intrigued me most throughout the Star Wars Saga. What led to Anakin Skywalker becoming that “master of evil”? I’m glad George Lucas was able to go back and tell the rest of the story. 🙂
For all his touting of his affinity for the Dark Side of the Force, Sam most definitely does not have Dark Side tendencies. Thankfully. 😉 The playful gleam in his eyes and the smile that spreads across his face when he deepens his voice to proclaim, “I am the master now!” takes the edge off any sinister possibilities. 😉 I must admit, however, that I find myself in what I consider a precarious position. At more than 25 years his senior, I should be the master and he the padawan! lol Isn’t that the way it should be?
“Patience, padawan,” Sam usually has to caution — more than once — during my sessions. I am too eager to get my arm back to normal, and will push myself harder than I should. “You want to be careful, and take small steps. Build on what you have learned,” he reiterates. Sam may have more Light Side tendencies in him than he thinks. 😉 That instruction sounds very much like Yoda to me. 🙂 There may be hope for him yet. 🙂 (Who’s the master now? lol)
I got some very good news at my last physical therapy session. At its conclusion, Sam exclaimed: “You’re getting stronger, padawan!” in his best imitation of James Earl Jones’ Darth Vader. Even though I can’t raise my arm as high when I’m standing as I can when I’m laying on my back — there’s a force of a different kind at work hindering my progress (gravity!) — I’m coming along. I have “graduated” to a new group of exercises that employ a resistance band to help retrain and strengthen my arm muscles. “You must unlearn what you have learned,” I can hear Yoda encouraging Luke as he goes through his training on Dagobah. Sam has dubbed my golden-colored band Lightsaber # 1. 😉 Before I left the gym, he walked me over to a group of six different colored reels from which the bands are cut, and pointed to the purple one. “This is the lightsaber you ultimately are aiming for,” he informed me. It has the most resistance. “Oh, Mace Windu’s, lightsaber color,” I replied. Sam agreed with my Star Wars connection. (Aren’t they everywhere? lol) If I have Mace Windu — one of the strongest Jedi who was a master at Juyo and Vaapad — for whom to aim, I know I have my work cut out for me. 😉
Maybe once I reach that point, I will become the master. 😉
Until next time…
* From “The Art of Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope”; Edited by Carol Titelman
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