On May 21, 1980, The Empire Strikes Back, the second or fifth (depending on your starting point) Star Wars movie, was released. It’s funny, but I know exactly where I was on that day. It was a Wednesday, and I wasn’t at the theater; instead, I was in high school during the day and working as a busboy at an IHOP just around the corner from the cinema where The Empire Strikes Back was playing.

It was my intention to totally ignore the movie until Saturday, my next day off; unfortunately, the movie wasn’t going to ignore me (did I mention that the IHOP was around the corner from the cinema?). Every two hours and fifteen minutes, there was a flash mob looking for food, and the moment one mob was fed, a second appeared like magic. It was exhausting, but the tips were good, so I had plenty of cash to pay for the movie, soda, popcorn, and Sno Caps when Saturday rolled around.

When I finally saw The Empire Strikes Back that Saturday, it was incredible — so much so that I needed to talk about it with a friend who saw it at the first showing on opening day. We talked for hours about the brief glimpse of Vader without his helmet, Boba Fett, the Emperor, who the other hope was, and the shock of who Luke’s father was. Eventually, the conversation lead to other topics: books, other movies coming out that summer, and a brand new dent in my friend’s van.

It was around that point that my friend told me about a new dent in his van. After the movie, my friend decided to drive along the line of people waiting to see the movie and be a total jerk. It seems that people don’t take kindly to someone yelling that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. Even though one of the people in line had a Coke bottle and a pretty good arm, I still think that my friend got off easy — I would have used a blaster.

What are your favorite memories of seeing The Empire Strikes Back?

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