I was born in 1983, but for those who were old enough to go see Star Wars Episode V (1980) when it first came out the revelation of Darth Vader’s paternity probably represents some kind of Joseph Campbellian watershed moment, the most iconic representation of all of our father-son relationships cinema might have ever delivered: in the end, aren’t all of our dads really just black plate armor wearing manifestations of archetypical Dread? And, when you were seven, didn’t they all sound like James Earl Jones?
Few pop culture enthusiasts seem to remember the other startling moment from that movie, though – or at least they remember it with far less clarity:
[as Luke leaves before completing his training]
Yoda: Told you I did. Reckless is he. Now, matters are worse.
Obi-Wan: That boy was our last hope.
Yoda: No. There is another.
WTF? Another Skywalker?
Here he is. His name is Andrew Reed. He is driving across America in search of College Football, which is very much like driving across College Football in search of America. We will be in Columbus and Los Angeles for the same games. It appears we missed each other in Nebraska. That we are doing this in the same season is mind boggling. That we are both driving is testament to the infinite stupidity of the human mind, and to the boundless realms of hope in the human soul, which, as my odometer can attest, is very often found napping while the mind draws up the itinerary.
Reed and I are different in that Reed is being paid by SI.com’s On Campus to report on tailgates. I am being paid by Negative Debit Card Transactions.com to use my bank account to further the economies of two dozen college towns throughout our fine nation. Which one of us will come out ahead? If I were a betting man I’d say me, but then again I am a betting man and I managed, in just forty five minutes of dealer’s choice, to get fleeced by the residents of Murfreesboro, TN in a game of tailgate poker. They made up for it by cooking me goat. The goat was symbolic of Western Kentucky’s preferred copular (from the Latin copula: “to link, via prophylactics, fraternity rushees to four legged creatures”) partners, and it’s also a symbol of why you shouldn’t bet on me. I eat tailgating food based on goat fucking jokes.
And let me say this: the goat was actually kinda tasty.
Anyway, more on that next week. For now, try not to think of any Luke-Leia analogies to further the Star Wars opening because I really don’t want to recreate Episode I with Andrew.