Little Vader, The Super Bowl, and The Force

by Sharifa Stevens

The Force_thumb[1]I’m a big fan of Superbowl ads, especially when my team (ehem, the Giants) doesn’t get to play.

But even before Superbowl Sunday, a particular ad had me frozen to my laptop like Han Solo in carbonite, which follows a little kid in a Darth Vader costume. He walks down a narrow hallway, black cape billowing behind him, until he reaches an exercise bike. His hands shoot invisible force-rays to bring it to life.


He takes his invisible-force-hands to the family dog to raise it from its repose, and…nothing. Washers, dryers, dolls, peanut butter sandwiches – nothing responds to Little Vader’s force. Just when he becomes despondent, his dad comes home. Little Vader runs out to meet not his dad, but his dad’s car. As he shrugs off his dad’s attempt to hug him, he concentrates on using his force-power to animate the sedan. And then…it starts! It starts! He’s amazed at his own power!

Cut to dad watching son from a kitchen window, car key with an automatic ignition in hand, watching the delight of his son.

What endears me to this commercial is not just my love of Star Wars and German engineering, but also the message that hits me in the heart: I am constantly striving to exert my own force in my environment.

Ah, striving to obtain control by force in order to quell my anxiety. I don’t need a mask and a black cape to go around desperately waving my hands at the things and people that ought to bow to my will; my husband, my child, my bank account, my wardrobe, my weight, my friends, my enemies, the dude in front of me on the highway, the woman that ran over my foot with her grocery cart in Central Market while she was texting (hmm, was that too specific?).

And when I wave my hands, some times things happen. I break stuff. I hurt people. Or worse, I get my way…


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