Your Light Saber’s Only Dorky if You Let It Be

When Time Warner Cable decides to throw me a bone and gives me an Internet signal in my off-campus abode, my fingertips celebrate by hammering out my dirtiest little techno-obsession. And I don’t mean porn.

I’m talking about www.theforce.net.

No, it’s not a Web site designed to help you with physics homework. It’s all about the Force: The one that allowed Darth Vader to choke inept stormtroopers with one pinch of his thumb and forefinger, and empowered Yoda to levitate Luke’s X-wing after it sank to the bottom of the Dagobah-system swamp.

Displaying expert “Star Wars” knowledge at 21 may not be radical enough to fall under the category of social suicide, but it does tend to draw a raised eyebrow or two from onlookers. And no matter how many friends allegedly love me for who I am, not one will support nor seek to understand my ability to list all the droids from the original trilogy by name and function. C-3PO, for instance — protocol droid, fluent in over 6 million forms of communication.

Sure, my “Star Wars” obsession was cute when I was 9 years old, collecting Pepsi cans plastered with Boba Fett’s image (aww, remember the re-release promos?). A few years later, though, I have to satiate my obsession behind closed doors, where no one but me and other anonymous Han Solo fanatics log into Jedi Council forums and chat live about backstage secrets of the asteroid field scene in “Episode V”.

All I have to do is Google “Boba Fett forums” and I’m assured that thousands of other excited fans like me have never quite grown out of the trend. The anonymity of fan sites makes them that much more inviting: any overzealous follower can create a user name unrelated to her real identity. That way, we can delve into heated debates on whether Jodie Foster should have played Princess Leia without public scrutiny — not that I do that, or anything.

But really, surfing your choice online forum with the blinds closed in your bedroom can be the only healthy way of dealing with your addiction. Looking up Lucasfilm terminology in Wookieepedia by day and hitting up the pubs with your friends by night is probably the nearest you’ll come toward double-life status, making your fan-site fascination comparable to a forbidden lover you’re forced to see only in the confines of a locked room.

There are of course, different levels of fandom, and it’s up to you to tap the brake wherever you’re comfortable. For me, behind-the-scenes tidbits, film analysis and talk of future projects are enough to keep me drooling; for others, there exists no prospect more titillating than a Friday night date with LeiaLover90, courtesy of the site’s fan-dating service.

There are no boundaries online, though it should be noted that it’s time for an intervention if any junkie becomes certain that the Force is real and that the Millennium Falcon is, in fact, hurtling through the galaxy as we slump over a stool in Price Center waiting for our Rubio’s order to be ready.

If it’s not “Star Wars,” it’s some other quirky series, artist or anime cartoon that only you and DarthDude13 seem to hold dear. But even if all the cool kids are snickering in the comfort of more socially acceptable interests — Rob Pattinson, “Family Guy” and hell, even Lady GaGa — and you start to feel way black sheep for toting around Pokemon cards even your 8-year-old brother thinks are lame, the trend obsessed are really no less dorky than we Pepsi can collectors. Just give them a little time.

The Internet is here to keep all nerdy fads alive, and prove you’re not alone. It is the Pandora’s Box of guilty pleasures, reminding us that fan-based Web sites of our particular obsession would not have been made without popular demand. So, contrary to what your friends think, “Star Wars” and all equally mocked pop-culture fixations are still cool in one circle or another (regardless of whether their average fan still hasn’t moved out of Mom’s basement after 32 years of life alongside a life-sized Princess Leia cutout).

Go ahead: Stop trying to repress your adoration for fantastic fictional worlds and visit your online fan site of choice instead of Facebook every once in a while. It’s the perfect way to channel your inner nerd without compromising the social life you’ve worked so hard to build and maintain — and hey, you never know when trends will be recycled, and those dust bunnied movie posters in your closet will live on as treasured relics.

Until then, snap on your seatbelt and make the jump to lightspeed — and don’t forget to log out before your friends seize your laptop and discover your alter ego.

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