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: http://www.wsfa.org/journal/j99/5/index.htm#ssaowkwino or http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4179/is_19990504/ai_n11723870/

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.)?

24 comments:

Lorna Barrett said...

Me. Geek girl in high school. Why? I carried my Star Trek books around in my purse. I lived and breathed (classic) Star Trek. I secretly wrote Star Trek stories. (Gulp--outed: I've watched two classic Trek episodes this week, PLUS the movie Search for Spock.)

I was a BIG Star Wars fan, too, but it was Return of the Jedi that was my favorite (and I can recite). I PAID to see it 28 times on the Big Screen. (Of course, movies weren't as expensive as they are today.)

I'm still a big Star Trek fan (I have plans to watch all of Voyager again this summer), but I've never seen the first three "episodes" of the Star Wars trilogy and have no desire to. (I think the Ewoks did it for me--and bad press for Jar-Jar Binks.)

Dave Chaudoir said...

JB, that was a GREAT story and I'd never have guessed! I love it!

Jessica said...

LOL JB I debated on what the right answer was...and lost! I thought it sounded too impossible! Guess I was wrong! Great Story...and thanks for sharing it! I've never actually SEEN Star Wars...I keep telling myself I will some day. It might help if I went and got them....

Dru said...

That's great JB, I never would have guess that. I think that's great that you did that for your class.

How long did it take to legally change your name back?

I'm not a Star Wars or Star Trek fan, but I do enjoy watching some sci-fi movies.

jbstanley said...

Jessica, for shame! I am going to have to come over with Jiffy Pop and DVDs!

jbstanley said...

Lorraine,

I knew it! Another closet Sci-Fi junkie. Did you like the new Star Trek movie? I thought the casting was terrific.

jbstanley said...

Dave,

We are full of surprises! You can bare a skeleton for us any time!
:)

Julie Hyzy said...

JB, what a great story! I can't wait to tell my youngest when she gets home from school today. She loves Star Wars and Star Trek - we just finished watching all of TNG and we're currently on season 2 of DS9. Geek heaven here. Plus I *just* received all three seasons of TOS for Christmas, so that's coming soon!
This is a way-cool truth. Thanks for sharing! ;-)
Julie

Cleo Coyle said...

Priceless.

Lover of Books said...

Okay that's insane. I thought I was crazy for changing my middle name to Anne with an E. Hmm loved Anne of Green gables. lol Maybe I'm just weird. :)

Mare F said...

I have to admire your courage. LOL

Leann Sweeney said...

I never know whether to call you Jennifer, JB or Jenn. Now I'll just call you Obi. So much easier.

My Writer's Attic said...

OMG! That is so cool! I would never have had the courage to do something like that. Awesome!

Kristin A. said...

You had to have been the coolest teacher at the school! From then on did your students refer to you as Obi-Wan or Miss Kenobi (despite keeping your last name)?

signlady217 said...

That is unreal! I've done some interesting things to help my students, but nothing like that!

Definitely a Trek fan here. Used to have the biggest crush on William Shatner. I'm a bit leery of seeing the new movie, but I've heard good things, so I'll take the chance.

Also like Stars Wars, Battlestar Galactica (old and new), and Quantum Leap.

Heather Webber said...

This is too cool! And what a great story to pass on to your kids, and their kids someday. Love it.

Linda said...

Great Story! As a kid my dad took me at least ten times to see the first Star Wars in the movie theater. I love the old ones the best...not too fond of the later movies.

jbstanley said...

Oh, I almost forgot about Battlestar Galactica, Sign Lady. Loved both old and new, too.

The new V was a bit of a disappointment. Loved the old series.

jbstanley said...

Oh, I almost forgot about Battlestar Galactica, Sign Lady. Loved both old and new, too.

The new V was a bit of a disappointment. Loved the old series.

Amy said...

I too am a fan of the original Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi. I saw the first one at a drive in with my parents. My sister and I had the entire action figure set and the display stand! For my 8th birthday, my favorite gift was a tie between my Chewbacca mug and R2D2 pillow. We also had the 8-track of the Star Wars movie soundtrack. We listened to it every time we went anywhere in the car and would assign character parts to each other. I can still proudly quote almost the entire movie!

The most embarrassing part of my fanatacism was Christmas in 2nd grade. The class wrote letters to Santa that were going to be read on the local radio station. So what did the whole town hear was the only thing I wanted - a Han Solo doll! I didn't realize how odd it was until years later when it dawned on me that my sister asked for and received a Princess Leia doll while her little sister (me!) got a boy doll.

And Battlestar Gallatica rocked. Thanks for reminding me of some of my childhood favorites!

Allison said...

JB, my cousin could go head to head with you on being a Star Wars fan(atic). She's written a continuing adventure, met Mark Hamill (several times, I believe), and her license plate was "Obi-Mom".
Okay, okay, I admit it. I saw "Star Wars" well over a hundred times...and will still sit and watch it when it comes on.

Sarah MacCallum said...

I love the Star Wars movies but I don't think I'd change my name to any of the characters! Great story, though :-)

Sarah

Lindy said...

I can't help wondering... when you taught Greek mythology did you change your name to Aphrodite Athena? Italian history, Cleopatra Lucretia? American history, Dolly Annie Oakley Madison? I think I'm going to change mine to Lorna Maqggie J.B. Kate Deb Heather Leann Someone. Whew, it's going to takie me a while to get my checks written.

Kris said...

Too cool!! That's really going out of your way for your students!

BTW - this is Allison's cousin. :o) Just remember, I'm not obsessed. I'm focused.

Thanks!
:o) Kris