A "Star Wars" addict takes the first step toward recovery — admitting that he has a problem. 

True Confessions of a "Star Wars" Junkie

On Monday, May 3, at precisely 12:01 a.m., I was part of the stampeding horde of geeks who hit the Toys "R" Us on Midlothian to buy the first toys from "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace."

I came in to buy two action figures and that's what I left with.

As I watched 40-year-old men, who probably still live in their parents' basements, loading up shopping carts and spending $300, $400 and $500 each, I thought smugly, "Well, at least I'm not as bad as them."

Then I took a step outside myself.

I'm ready to admit I have a problem now.

My name is Richard and I'm a "Star Wars" junkie.

My son's middle name is Harrison.

Every day without fail, I log onto TheForce.Net at least twice to make sure I haven't missed any news about the prequels. Then I check out the official "Star Wars" site and a couple of others just to double-check.

My co-workers catch me whistling John Williams' haunting "Imperial March" as I walk down the hall at Style. I dragged my pregnant wife to Washington in the middle of winter last year to tour the "Star Wars" exhibit at the Smithsonian.

Do I know "Star Wars" trivia? Try me.

Which cast member of TV's "Cheers" appeared in "The Empire Strikes Back?" John Ratzenberger, a.k.a. Cliff the Mailman. Really.

When the very first toy from the new "Star Wars" movie was released last fall, I was in Target buying two, one for myself and one for a friend.

I have played the Nintendo 64 game "Star Wars: Rogue Squadron" so much that my rank is "Supreme Allied Commander." (I sort of picture it as Eisenhower in space.)

I gave six "Star Wars" action figures to Sgt. Santa's Christmas toy drive this year but it wasn't entirely selfless. I used the proof-of-purchases to send away for the mail-in action figure of Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, "senior member of the Jedi Council."

I've seen each "Star Wars" movie more times than I care to admit. My wife and I get into deep philosophical discussions about the intricacies of the motivations of characters who deliver lines like "Darth Vader, only you could be so bold."

So it's not "Citizen Kane," but it was the seminal event of my childhood and that of most every other person in my age bracket. I remember the flashlight light-saber duels, the little girl across the street with the cinnamon-bun hairstyle at Halloween, the neighbor who made life-size Yoda puppets.

What's more I remember the joy of unwrapping a scale AT-AT (four "D" batteries not included) on Christmas morning, and the anticipation that would build waiting for each installment, and how the movies would ignite my imagination like the Millennium Falcon's hyperdrive engine.

Maybe there's a 12-step program for people like me. But I have a feeling we would just end up debating what Boba Fett looks like under the

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