Black dont crack? Hold my beer.
"Black don't crack? Hold my beer." Disney

How long have I lived? Long enough to see Luke Skywalker not grow old.

I first saw his face in a Seattle movie theater in 1977. I was a boy, and Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the star of the history-making Star Wars, barely looked like an adult. When I returned to Seattle in 1980 (I spent my summers here with my sister), I watched The Empire Strikes Back, and he looked like a young man. I saw this young man's face again in the penultimate episode of The Book of Boba Fett, a series that only regained the magic of its predecessor, The Mandalorian, when Boba Fett's storyline was suspended and, by way of Bryce Dallas Howard's superb direction, returned to that of the Mandalorian.

Episode 6 of The Book of Boba Fett, "From the Desert Comes a Stranger," spends a considerable amount of its time with a Luke Skywalker who, believably, has not aged. It really looks like him. This is where he really ended up after he lost his right hand in a battle with his father in 1980. Just as the old Yoda trained Skywalker on the planet Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back, Skywalker is now training the baby Yoda in 2022. 42 years later. Nothing has changed. Mark Hamill is 70, but the character who made him famous is now officially ageless. Hamill will eventually die, but not Skywalker. Watch the episode. It's not only an impressive "facial capture," it's also upsetting, particularly for a Gen Xer like me.

I had no idea that when my Sekuru David — who was studying mining engineering in Moscow, Idaho at the time — took me to the opening night of The Empire Strikes Back in a theater that was so packed we sat on folding chairs, I would see the exact same face in the third decade of the 21st century.


To see time stand still on the screen like that. To see Jean-Luc Godard's practical and seemingly time-proof claim that ''every film is a documentary of its actors" dissolve before my eyes. And, yes, Godard is still alive to see this computer-generated sorcery, too. But many of those cinema houses of Seattle's 70s and 80s are gone. And so is that temple of concrete, The Kingdome, where in a time that's now long gone I watched with Sekuru David a Sounders game not long after we watched the second movement of the space opera. But deep in a land that has evolved a concentration of technologies that were in development during my childhood, time, and therefore death, is more and more becoming a thing of the past.

What does all of this say about the mode of my generation? We were always in the future. That's what defines us. That's Gen X in a ghostly nutshell. My father, his father, and his father's father, and so on were all confined by the past. But by some bizarre cosmic arrangement, I was born in a period whose wings were entirely caught by a wind blown from a progress that was at once no longer rushing to the future (that is to say, was already in the future) but was in warp drive.

When my Maiguru Sana took to the theater in Wallingford to watch Star Wars in 1977, the first time I visited Seattle, she slept through the whole film. Not even the bombing of the Death Star stirred her. For Maiguru Sana, whose husband was working on his doctorate at the University of Washington, and whose sister, my mother, lived and studied with her husband, a theologian and economist, in the other Washington, the future meant nothing. But the boy who was next to her was gripped by it.

He had flown in a Jumbo jet, was soon to have a video game in his bedroom, spend quarters in video arcades, listen to rap, mess around with a drum machine in a mall's electronics store, watch music videos on a cable network devoted to the visualization and dramatization of popular tunes, and purchase with his allowance a camera that produced near instant pictures. In 1987, he had a cordless phone at his home in Harare and received his first fax in his mother’s office at the University of Botswana.

The future for Gen X was all there was. And it seems it's all there is to be had today. We are the future in a stand-still.