Let me be the first to say: I don’t care about the new Star Wars movie.

Sorry, George Lucas. I know this goes against every grain of the media hype you have carefully choreographed, but it’s just a movie.

Don’t get me wrong. I liked Star Wars. The sequels were okay, too. But even if this new one turns out to be the best movie ever made – a stretch, since none of the previous three would even be in the top ten of all time – it’s still just a movie.

Here in St. Louis, a thousand people lined up outside of Toys R Us stores in order to be the first to buy the new Star Wars toys and merchandise at midnight last night. One couple sat in folding chairs beginning at 5pm! I hope they spent some part of those seven hours in line considering what they really should get once they got inside the store: A Life!!

This wasn’t a one day, come-and-get-it sale. These are toys that will be in stores for a long time to come. Believe me, they’re not likely to run out of Star Wars merchandise anytime soon.

To make it even better, we now have the super-hype combo in action: Star Wars and The Internet. This will make that whole Beanie Baby thing seem like a passing fad.

You think I’m kidding? E-Bay already has over 200 “Phantom Menace” items up for bid, including my favorite: an unused Phantom Menace Diet Pepsi can (it’s going for five bucks). No, I didn’t bid on it. I’m waiting for the one that Mark Hamill drank a few sips from.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re an adult and you’re walking around with one of those plastic light sabers, you’re a dork. Your friends won’t tell you, but I will. None of us is jealous because you got one first. None of us want one to begin with.

On the contrary, I have absolutely no problem with the people who have been in line for this movie for a couple of weeks already. In fact, I’ve had the leader of the line at Mann’s Chinese Theater on my show a couple of times. He’s funny. He realizes how silly this is. He’s doing it for charity. And most of all, he’s 22 years old.

You can do that sort of thing when you’re 22 years old. In fact, you should do something stupid at that age. Enter a hot dog eating contest. Bungee jump. Hitchhike across Europe. Date Cher.

This is his shot at the brass ring of stupidity, and he’s grabbing it with all the gusto he can muster. Good for him. But once you get into your 30s and 40s, your life should serve some other purpose than being the first person in line for ANYTHING.

I was talking with Roger Ebert about this on the air the other day and he agreed with me, saying he wouldn’t even stand in line for an hour for a great hamburger. Here’s a guy who — obviously — loves food, yet he realizes that there’s always another place selling a hamburger.

There will always be another showing of the movie. So, you’re the second person to see it. Or maybe you’re a heretic and you wait two weeks before seeing it, or a month. So what? It’s not like you’re missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And do you have any idea how annoying that first-person-who-saw-it is going to be to everyone they talk to for the next week?

Finally, a simple eight step test. Here’s how you can tell that you are far too interested in the new Star Wars movie, “The Phantom Menace”…

  • You refer to your bathroom as “The Phantom Mensroom.”
  • You have personalized license plate number R2D2 or C3PO.
  • You call your computer “my desktop droid.”
  • You can’t pass Pizza Hut without saying the word “Jabba.”
  • You have ever discussed the merits of the Meko disco version of the Star Wars theme versus the John Williams original soundtrack.
  • You refuse to believe that Yoda is a puppet.
  • Your answering machine message includes the phrase “May the phone be with you.”
  • Your next destination on the web is the “Phantom Menace” section of E-Bay, to see what kind of cool items they have up for bid right now!