The Strange Life of Origami Yoda



Origami Yoda was dying.

The last ember of the fire that was the origami revolution was about to fade.

Schools around the country had gained and lost their origami protectors.

Only one remained. And twilight was upon him.

Dwight, Micah, and Jacob always assumed it would be in some huge battle of cataclysmic proportions. A duel with an enemy like Fako Mustacho, Harvey, or a version of Jacob himself. But no.

Origami Yoda’s death came from a little tear he incurred when Dwight’s daughter Savanna first took hold of him. A tear that grew over the years as Yoda sat in the fold of Dwight’s wallet.

He’d already been looking much older, looking much worse off for his 33 years than the real Yoda looked in his 900 years.

A rip in his ear from the climactic battle with Fako Mustacho that happened decades ago now.

A stain on his robes from a Savannah’s teething little brother, Tommy.

But it was that deadly tear from that wondrous child which sealed Origami Yoda’s fate. And he was fine with it.

This was, after all, his great purpose. His sole mission. The mission of all the origami puppets who had come before, and all the puppets that had come since.

Origami Yoda had come to help children grow up.

“And grow up, they did!” Origami Yoda chuckled to himself.

Tom Lomax had made quite a name for himself as a bestselling author. Kellen, to no one’s surprise, was his acclaimed illustrator. However, Sara’s book managed to outsell them both. Harvey was unrecognizable from the petulant youth Yoda had met so many years ago, the former loudmouthed bully becoming, of all things, McQuarrie’s school librarian. And Dwight was a father. The kind of father who never left. A man willing to rise to the challenges of life, and not cower away.

“Do, or do not! There is no try,” he would say, in that squeaky old Yoda impression of his. Savannah would always laugh at that.

Yes, Yoda thought with a smile. The McQuarrie kids had grown up.

It was with this comforting thought, with his mission complete as night fell, that Origami Yoda joined the Force.


Dwight Tharp opened his wallet one day when his phone wouldn’t scan, when he needed to rely on good ol’ fashioned cash to buy his son’s sixth grade yearbook.

That’s where he found him. A torn little wad of paper, as fragile as he was powerful. Lifeless, he knew with a rising lump in his throat, but no less magical.

His mind raced back to the first day he met this peculiar being. A night where he’d burst into his room with red, puffy eyes full of tears, knocking his blue anchor off the wall and shoving his face into his pillow. Biting it. Punching it. When words failed him, he prayed a silent prayer to whoever lived up in the stars.

He wished for a true friend.

And the stars answered.

As he awoke the next morning, blinking back the bright rays of the sun, he was perplexed, flummoxed, flabbergasted and confuzzled by this strange case of…of…

“What…who…who ARE you?”

He studied the green and brown paper being resting on his chest. He knew these folds. Origami, like the old crafts his father used to share with him.

And it kinda looked a bit like Yoda.

Letting his confusion give way to curiosity, He cleared his throat. “The Force is my ally. And a–“

“A powerful ally it is!” Origami Yoda chirped.

“AHH!!!” Dwight screamed, jumping back into his covers and hiding behind his pillow.

“Origami Yoda, I am!” The finger puppet exclaimed. “Yoda, you seek! Yes!”

Origami Yoda explained that he came from a distant planet, galaxy, universe, or dimension far, far away….and he was here to help.

After a load of convincing–both from Jedi wise advice regarding eating Lucky Charms with milk instead of orange juice, and from showing Dwight his fantastical mode of transportation, the flying envelope known as the Mail-lennium Falcon–Dwight decided to take Origami Yoda, for the first time, to school.

“McQuarrie Middle School…” Origami Yoda read the large letters on the brick building with a hrrm. “Its energy surrounds us…and binds us…where I am meant to be, this is!”

The day didn’t go as smoothly as either of them meant it to be. From Yoda startling a skater dude riding through the halls, to spouting out the answers for the big astronomy quiz before Dwight could think to hide him, to even causing Kellen to laugh so hard with his hidden impression of Fozzy Bear that he peed his pants, Yoda decided to take a cue from one of Dwight’s favorite movies, Ratatouille, and only speak his advice through Dwight’s own Yoda impression, to avoid getting taken away and dissected and all those unpleasantries.

Dwight didn’t admit it back then, and neither did Yoda, but it was clear that they were both in desperate need of each other. Yes, Dwight was lonely, wanting friends and guidance for a troublesome time in his life. But Yoda…Yoda carried the memories, the wisdom, and the terrible pain of his film-famous counterpart. Origami Yoda’s guilt, his regrets, the memories of failed younglings past, all melted away when he was with Dwight. It was why, even after Yoda’s untimely death at the hands of the baked beans, he still returned to Dwight in a dream more fantastical and downright weird than Dwight could ever hope to describe. Yoda could not leave Dwight. He didn’t want to. Not until his mission was complete. Not until this day. The day Dwight’s youngest graduated the sixth grade.

The Twist played on the loudspeakers in the gymnasium, snapping Dwight back into the present day as he paid for his son Tommy’s yearbook.

Then, in a moment nobody but his approaching wife could see, Dwight picked up the pieces of Origami Yoda, now more legendary from nostalgia than magical from the Force, and lowered them gently into a familiar trash bin. This time, however, he set him down on a little yellow party napkin, instead of the plate of baked beans sitting next to it.

“Why is it always baked beans?” Dwight chuckled.

Caroline smiled. “Some things never change. Oh, speaking of which, did you bring the–“

“The combo meals?” He pecked her cheek. “Yeah, I got them in the car.”

The night went on, Dwight’s family celebrating their son’s graduation with all the pomp, cheer, and weirdness one would come to expect from the Tharps.

But Dwight didn’t forget McQuarrie, nor the fact that it might be in need of a guiding hand, as well. So he left one puppet. One little origami figure tucked away in Tommy’s book in Harvey’s library, where someone knew would find it when the time was right.

This was the end, of course, for the tales of our McQuarrie gang. The rest of their lives, though eventful and beautiful in so many ways, could be summed up in the words, “happily ever after.”

But you might much prefer, as the old and wise paper Jedi would say,

“The End, Is It Ever?”


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