The other day my son asked me to play Star Wars with him. Since he had actually left the house and come outside to play it was hard to say no. He had his clone trooper helmet and blaster rifle with him, but I had nothing. "Give me five minutes," I said, and he did. I used the time to knock this together from scrap.
So we ran around the back yard for a while making laser sounds, diving for cover, yelling "Got you!", and just having fun. The whole time though, I was having a serious flashback.
I was eleven when Star Wars first came out, just a little bit older than my son is now. I don't think that kids today can appreciate just how groundbreakingly different that movie was. I was totally blown away the first time I saw it, and obsessed with it from then on. Later that summer I went to visit my cousin for a few days, and of course we went to see it again. Later, he revealed to me one of his greatest treasures, a wooden 'laser pistol' my uncle had made for him. It was very much like the one in the picture above, except I think it was made from hockey sticks. I offered all sorts of things in trade, but he wouldn't go for it.
I was determined to have one of my own though. When I got home I made a plan. I waited until Dad was out in the field, snuck into his shop, and fired up the table saw to make my own. How I managed to do it without cutting my fingers off is a mystery to me, but I did it. And, I might add, it was waaay better than the one my uncle made. And better than the one I had just made. Ironic that I did better job at eleven than I did at forty-seven. In defense of my older self I spent a lot more time on it when I was eleven.
I went on to make a lot more laser guns, machine guns, and rifles. They stayed behind when I left the farm and eventually disappeared. I blame my nephews. Now, though, when someone asks me how I got started in woodworking, the answer is 'Star Wars.'