Finding the struggle against the Dark Side to be overwhelming, I changed tactics. I decided I could fool the Darkness by pretending to embrace it, the thought being that it would be easier to fight from the inside.
I began by purchasing more Star Wars trinkets. Hasbro released four Revenge of the Sith preview action figures two months before the full launch of the new toys. I bought them. The Obi-Wan Kenobi Clone Wars cartoon figure? Mine. The Mace Windu and Count Dooku Unleashed figures? Mine! The Galactic Heroes line of figures for three- to eight-year olds? I dared the cashier at Toys R Us to laugh at me.
And while driving all over town in pursuit of these trinkets I listened to my Star Wars soundtrack CDs.
Speaking like Yoda for a time I tried. Headaches this created so give it up I had to.
But all of this wasn’t enough. I had to do something big to convince the Dark Side of my apparent transformation. But what would be big enough to pull off the deceit? The answer came to me at work one Sunday.
Our vacation schedule for the following year at work is typically set by the Thanksgiving holiday. I get four weeks of vacation this year. As usual, my first two picks went towards our two camping trips. My third pick was difficult since all of the good weeks were taken. I took the first week of March to spread out my weeks off. The fourth week was taken during the Christmas holiday of 2004.
As you all know, I enjoy traveling. When I was a teenager, my parents took our family to Mount Rushmore. This visit made a huge impact on me and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. So I planned to use the week in March to visit the monument. I did some research on the Black Hills area to see where else I could go and where I could stay. The problem I ran into was so many of these places would still be closed for the season during my trip. I decided it would be best to plan the trip for warmer days.
Now facing a free week in March, I needed to figure out what to do with it. It’s too early to do yard work. I don’t feel like painting. What can I do with that week of vacation?
The answer: Change it.
Change it to the week of Celebration III.
Surely this would be enough to convince the Dark Side of my transformation.
Giddy with excitement, I checked the vacation schedule. Surely the third week of April would be available. But no. Two members of my team had grabbed that week. And the worst part? Jim enjoys being an a-hole and Dave is angry for the sake of being angry. Talking one of them into trading or changing weeks would not be easy.
I approached Jim first while he was watching a game of euchre during a break. One of the players in this game happened to be Dave. I asked Jim if he had plans for the week in April. He said no. I told him I had an opportunity to do something that week and asked if he would be willing to change weeks. I pointed out a couple of open weeks in the vacation calendar that were very close to the week he had scheduled. He thought about it and said he would consider it. Dave overheard all of this and asked to see the schedule. He said he would take one of the open weeks and let me have the week in April. I was stunned at the accommodating attitudes the two of them had shown. More than one witness to the exchange later commented on the highly unusual ease with which Dave changed weeks. Perhaps I was subtly using a Jedi mind trick on the two of them.
I strutted out of the break room feeling triumphant and assured that the Dark Side was ignorant of my plan.
The trap is sprung