I don't mean to turn PA into an episode of Kids say the darnedest things but some of you might appreciate this. I was playing Star Wars with my son the other night when he said something funny. Little Gabe is obsessed with Star Wars and so much of our play time involves reenacting the movies. On this particular occasion he was playing the role of the emperor while I was Luke Skywalker. He had seated himself in my computer chair and when he spun around to face me I saw that he had placed a toy Lightsaber on the arm rest. He patted it gently and said "You want this don't you?" I could not help but laugh at how ridiculous the scene was. This bothered him and he told me not to laugh at him because he was the emperor and he was evil. "Yes I know." I told him and tried to get my act together but his little angry eyes underneath the hood of his Mickey Mouse sweatshirt made me laugh even more. "I'm bad." he said and as if to prove it told me "I litter!"
"What?" I asked "What do you mean you litter?" He pushed back his hood and looked at me seriously "Well littering is against the law and the Emperor does all bad things right?" I imagined the Emperor stalking the halls of the Deathstar and munching on a snickers bar. He finishes the last bite and throws the crumpled wrapper over his shoulder. An Imperial Guard bends to snatch it up and the Emperor raises a hand. "Leave it." he croaks. The guard pauses, his red gloved hand shudders as it hovers over the bit of garbage lying there on the Deathstar's polished Durasteel floor. The emperor watches the guard's discomfort with growing satisfaction, a smile creasing his shriveled face. The Guard stands and follows the Emperor away and he can not help but spare a backwards glance at the trash he left behind. With the glance comes a thought, a thought he will never share out-loud but one that shakes him to his very core. "I serve a monster!"
I looked at my son and realized that in his five year old mind there is no gradient to evil. For him, the act of destroying Alderaan and littering are equal. The sort of person who could to one might easily do the other. I smiled at him "Of course he litters son. He litters all the time." He smiled knowingly and I reached out with the force to summon my Lightsaber.