My boy dutifully kicked off May the 4th with a viewing of Star Wars. I lie: He popped Star Wars into the DVD player because that’s what he does on a Saturday morning. He had no awareness of today’s geeky significance.

But in honor of May the 4th, here’s a small, insignificant fascination I have with the original Star Wars.

I remember 1977. Here’s what I remember: 8-track tape players. Really big cars with carburetors under the hood. Pocket calculators that were just beginning to fulfill the promise of actually fitting in your pocket.

Considered awesome because you never had to rewind it!

Considered awesome because you never had to rewind it!

There were no cell phones. No computers in people’s homes—and certainly not in their pockets. No internet—people wouldn’t start commonly using the web for nearly two decades. Heck: Microwaves and VCRs were just hitting the market. The Atari game console was still several years away.

Star Wars had droids and computers. Nothing special about that; both had been in the public consciousness (and movies) for decades. But when did we become aware of networks and their potential? I don’t recall being at all aware of such things—but when R2 shuts down a garbage disposal from a network interface half a small moon away, the audience went right along with it. In 1977.

I guess maybe this concept was already out there. Or maybe it made such intuitive sense that people bought it without thinking. I don’t remember it being a “wow” moment.

But then, it was Star Wars. It was the summer of ’77, and there had never been an experience like it. Maybe it was just lost in the blinding glare of a hundred “wow” moments.

Am I right to find this bit of trivia fascinating? Or am I misremembering—were we already all like, “Yeah, duh, it’s a computer network. Happens all the time.”?

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