By Billy Liggett

They dressed as Jedi and stood in long lines in some major cities. In London, new stars John Boyega and Daisy Ridley greeted fans at the Disney Store. Stormtroopers danced in Times Square to celebrate the occasion.

“Force Friday” — the official launch of the merchandise line for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens flick that’s still four months away — began at midnight last night in various Disney Stores, Targets, Walmarts and Toys R Ussesses across the wide world. I — a nearly 40-year-old grown man who digs Star Wars more than your average human — had every intention of driving a half-hour away to Target in Apex (Target’s making a big deal out of today) to be there for the midnight sale. But I worked late and eventually came to my senses and realized I am a nearly 40-year-old grown man.

IMG_1129So I went to Sanford’s WalMart on my way home from work, as I also had to pick up a box of diapers (it was the equivalent of the guy who buys a bunch of items at the gas station even though all he needed was condoms … because having the other items makes the trip legitimate and less embarrassing). With diapers in my cart, I strolled over to a Star Wars display just before midnight, and was greeted by a few balloons, an inflatable R2-D2 and about two dozen Star Wars cupcakes.

It was no dancing Stormtroopers. But Walmart had the goods.

I bought five figures and surprised my kids in the morning with them. My 6-year-old daughter loves Star Wars, and she’s already a big fan of Rey, the young girl in the trailers. She brought her new figure to Show and Tell today.

Having to open that toy brought a moment of hesitation, as had I never opened the Star Wars toys of my youth in the early 1980s, I’d be able to pay off my house. Then I realized that today’s Star Wars toys are so mass produced, they’re selling out stores at midnight during a weeknight. These toys aren’t going to help my retirement … so go ahead, young Jedi, play away.

And yes, even at 39, I still get a kick out of this.