by Ranger Vader
One of my favorite jobs in the dusty city is standing on the perimeter of large fires, mainly the Man burn. It can be both brutal and boring; you kneel for a sometimes inordinate amount of time, you don’t get to move much, and you have to be on high alert.
But I love it in part because I have a captive audience, and I engage with them. We are on our spot before the crowds show up, so as my section filters in, I spin my lightsaber for them, chat with them, ask about their burn, let them play with the lightsaber, etc. I ask them who’s there for their first time, and try to get to know them a little, do a little Q&A about Rangers if they have questions, even try to recruit people to the department.
Once I get 3-4 rows of people, I start in with my spiel about what I’m there to do, and I give them all Starburst candies (and collect the moop), and communicate my expectations / requests of them, that they sit down, be as emotive as possible while watching the fireworks and fire (because I don’t get to watch it so I want to experience it as it is reflected in their faces and responses), alert me if they need to get up so I know what they are doing, help me convince other people to sit down, and be my eyes and ears: if they see something odd happening, I want them to alert me. (I’ve never had this be necessary, luckily.)
All of this works really well. Most people love this. A lot of them don’t really know why we stand the perimeter, and Burners generally love gifts. The Startbursts are always a big hit. (I admit, I sometimes use them to “bribe” people to sit.) It thrills me when someone on my groups starts waving their arms and yelling , “Ranger Vader! Ranger Vader! I need to go to the portos! May I stand up?” or whatever else they need to communicate to me. (95% of it is “I need to go to the portos,” which may seem like micromanaging but it means they have taken me seriously about not just popping up, which is a good way to get a VERY bright flashlight shining in your face.)
So for years, I’ve wanted to make patches or at least stickers for them.
The 501st – the Storm Trooper cosplay charity – calls themselves Vader’s Fist. I thought it would be awesome to take a page from them and make patches for Vader’s Watch (the 447th – named after the highway we all take to BRC). I was finally going to do this this year because “Vader’s Watch 20/20” (with the pun on 20/20 vision) was just too perfect.
It’s the most First World Problem of First World Problems that there will be no Vader’s Watch 2020.
Just one of those little things that SARS-CoV-2 is taking away from us, in addition to all the big things.