Monday, April 14, 2008

Star Wars Interview

Greetings, Loyal Readers!

Everybody remembers a great leader. Everyone’s familiar with George Washington, Hannibal, Winston Churchill – heck, even some less illustrious leaders like Hoover get some love on PBS & the History Channel from time to time (& he doesn’t even have his face on a piece of currency). But no one ever remembers the people who helped these historical giants get to their lofty places in our textbooks & on cable TV. No one ever pays attention to the guy who made sure Washington’s teeth stayed termite free; no one ever talks about the guy who went about ordering up all those elephant poo bags for Hannibal’s invasion over the Italian Alps; there’s never any mention of the guy who kept Churchill’s derbies clean & cigars clipped.

Ladies & gentlemen, I’m talkin’ ‘bout the assistants – those high level grunts who work & slave to make sure their boss looks good. Today, it’s my great pleasure to introduce one of the most famous administrative assistants in the known galaxy.

OK, in the Star Wars galaxy…

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to the Administrator of Cloud City, Loren “Lobot” Botinski!

Me: Thank you for granting us this privilege, Mr. Botinski! It’s truly an honor to have you here!

Lobot: Thank you for having me - & please, call me Lobot.

Me: Very well, Lobot. To give some of my readers who actually have a life a little background, Lobot is –

Lobot: was

Me: Excuse me - was the administrative assistant to Lando Calrissian, Administrator of Cloud City on the gas planet Bespin in the movie The Empire Strikes Back. Lobot, even though you had no speaking parts in the film, you were able to convey so much with just a simple opening of your eyes or pointing. In fact, I’m sure that many of my readers will be surprised to find out that you talk at all.

Lobot: Oh, get a couple beers in me & I can talk your ear off! (laughs) Actually, in the original script, I had a long monologue about the oppression leveled upon the good people of Cloud City with the arrival of the Imperial forces. It was beautiful, eloquent & meaningful. Unfortunately, it was whittled down to the scene where Lando contacts me & I open my eyes, in order to squeeze in a few more scenes of Lando hitting on Princess Leia.

Me: That must’ve bothered you a little bit…

Lobot: Well, it did initially. I was mad. I’d worked hard to get those lines down – hired a diction coach & everything. I worked out. Then, I was told that my part had been cut. My dreams of getting off this forsaken gas ball lay on the cutting room floor. I plotted my revenge. It was going to be sweet, (unnerving grin spreads across his face) ending with the total destruction & loss of everything Lando held dear…*ahem* but, life goes on, heh, heh. Besides, I’m not one to hold a grudge.

Me: Yeah…okay. Um…What was life like during Calrissian’s run as administrator?

Lobot: Lando was a fair administrator; pretty laid back, most of the time. When things needed to get done, though, he knew who to turn to.

Me: I’ll bet he did! There were some high profile incidences that happened while he was there, though: a couple sexual harassment claims, some charges of misappropriation of funds. Can you tell us anything about those?

Lobot: Well, I can’t go into too much detail. Let’s just say that, contrary to what the ads say, Colt .45 doesn’t work every time with the ladies. And, unfortunately, Lando had a well known gambling problem. While the charges were all eventually dropped, it was still a sad time for all involved in his administration.

Me: I can only imagine. Let’s talk about something a little lighter – your uniform. What was up with that?

Lobot: Oh yes, the puffy sleeves & grey slacks ensemble. Well, you have to remember, this was the early 80’s. Disco was breathing its very last breath & a lot of hipsters were selling off their wardrobes full of polyester leisure suits & platform shoes to make room for racks & racks of skinny ties. Lando, in a malt liquor induced purchasing frenzy, bought up several sets of puffy sleeved shirts & grey slacks at yard sale on Dantooine. After he sobered up & realized what he’d done, he told me that he’d spent twenty years worth of uniform budgets on the clothes & that I’d have to make due until there was some money in the budget again. It was only recently that I was able to procure some more stylish clothes.

Me: And some very nice threads they are. Armani?

Lobot: Thank you - & yes, Armani.

Me: Things must be going well for your budget to afford such nice clothing.

Lobot: Yes, things have been going quite well, but anyone can dress nicely & not break the bank. The trick is to check the clearance racks. And shop at outlet stores when possible.

Me: Sage advice. How have things been in the years since Lando’s departure?

Lobot: Quite good. The Tibana gas market has been steady for some time now & our tourist industry has simply exploded. We had a little bit of tension when Lando’s younger brother, Ted, took over, trying to change Cloud City from a mining colony to a casino.

Me: I guess the gambling bug was pretty strong in the Calrissian family.

Lobot: Indeed. After Ted’s “departure,” we decided to keep the casino going & reopened some of the Tibana gas platforms to provide some ancillary income. Things were looking up until we had a minor labor dispute with the Ugnaughts about fifteen years ago, shortly after the Empire fell. The market was a shamble; Tibana gas prices plummeted. Nobody wanted to come to a floating casino that smelled of short, pig-faced people & gas. It really wasn’t a good time for the Ugnaughts to start making demands…

Me: What did they want?

Lobot: Shorter workdays, safer working environments, dental coverage, new overalls, step stools. They called in their union reps & we had a nice little chat. Since our rep was an IG-00 model assassin droid, the talks went favorably our way when he vaporized their union reps. Haven’t had any problems with them since.

Me: I believe it was Al Capone who said “You get more with a kind word & a gun than with a kind word alone.”

Lobot: True. Very true. And, fortunately, we had the gun! laughs

(face becomes dead serious) But, seriously, we don’t have any problems with the workforce anymore.

Me: Um…okay. I understand that Ted disappeared under some mysterious circumstances right before you took over –

Lobot: What do you mean, “mysterious circumstances”? (leans in toward me) What are you trying to say? (points to guards; guards advance toward me) Are you insinuating something?

Me: Um…er…no. Not at all. What I meant…uh…that is…I thought that…”Mysterious Circumstances” was the name of a starship?

Lobot: That’s what I thought. (points again at guards, who back off)

Me: Moving right along – many have wondered exactly what the function was of the piece of hardware around the back of your head. Was it some kind of device that kept you in contact with the City’s central computer or some kind of communications system?

Lobot: Neither, actually. It originally was an 8-track tape player that Lando had installed in my head. He had me double as a boombox for his “Ladies Night” parties. When that media fell out of favor, he had me refitted with a cassette deck, which was nicer, as it was a lot lighter. It was a bear, though, when the tape would bunch up. With CD technology came another upgrade, although, given the bulk of the player, it made it difficult to lie on my back. Thanks goodness for MP3 technology!

Me: I did notice that the device seemed a bit slimmer.

Lobot: Thank you! I think it makes my head look a bit more natural.

Me: Well, Lobot, that’s all the time we have for now. Thank you again for your time.

Lobot: The pleasure was all mine, I assure you.

Me: One last thing: could you do your signature open-eyes-&-point for all of your fans out there?

Lobot: I’d be delighted.

(Opens eyes; points)

Me: Thank you again, Lobot.

Lobot: Anytime…