Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Was a Jedi...Once

No, I don’t have my pilot’s license. That was my lie in the Deb’s blog post. I did, in fact, legally change my name to Obi-Wan Kenobi Briggs (that was my maiden name).

Why? Good question. The answer: I was in the middle of teaching a Star Wars/mythology Unit to my 6th grade students when a Star Wars contest was announced on the radio. That morning, the kids in my homeroom were listening. My students convinced me to enter, citing that I was the biggest Star Wars fan they knew. (I do have an attic filled with SW toys and can recite most of Episode III). It didn’t take much to convince me.

Well, I had to prove that I wanted to become a Jedi more than the station’s other listeners, but several hundred emails from my students helped convince the judges. I won $1000, a trip to NYC to appear on Rosie O’Donnell’s show, and the TV show EXTRA flew down to NC to film a segment on me. It was weird. It was fun. I would never do it now.

I was young at the time. I was eager to please my students. The judge, on the other hand, viewed my request as a mockery. He denied my name change request and suddenly, there was a media frenzy surrounding my ‘case’. See here to read an article from 1999: or

In the end, I had to keep the new name for a minimum of six months to satisfy the clerk of courts and I still have the driver’s license to prove it. There’s a tape of my segment on EXTRA floating around the house somewhere, but I was 28! It’s a tad embarrassing to mention now. Most days I forget all about that stunt.

What I remember is how jubilant my students were and how, for those months, they learned everything there was to know about mythology with gusto.

“You’ve got your 15 minutes of fame,” my friends used to say. I guess I kind of liked it! :)

Any Star Wars or any other Sci-Fi films out there (Star Trek, Dune, etc.)?