Sometimes something happens, and as a blogger I know the blogosphere will be flooded with posts of every shape and size and opinion about it. For the most part, I try to avoid those subjects. I mean really, who needs another post about some dress and what color it is?
However, today, a sadness overtook the world of science fiction fans, Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed Mr. Spock for over 40 years, has passed on to the great unknown. When I read that today, I was surprised by the flood of memories that hit me all at once.
Folks I was raised on Star Trek. I was only 2 when it first aired, but it was around until I was 5. I distinctly remember sitting in front of the black and white TV, hearing Shatner say “To boldly go where no man has gone before” and seeing the Enterprise flash across the screen.
As I grew older, I watched reruns every time they were on. Hell, it didn’t matter how many times I’d seen them, if it came on I was planted in front of the TV. I remember spending a week or two with my Grandmother in Boston and her cable package had 3 stations showing reruns back-to-back-to-back! Heaven!
I read every Star Trek book there was, had the technical manual showing all the ships, weapons, and uniforms in Star Fleet. I even had the blue prints of the original NCC-1701 hanging on my wall. (Other boys had Cheryl Tiegs and Farah in bathing suits Yeah I was a serious nerd).
Kirk was a stud, he always got the girl, and outwitted the bad guys. But I just knew he never could have done it without Spock. The man was amazing. I often wondered why he even needed the computer, he had it all filed away upstairs. I wished I could know all that he did.
Then there were those special Vulcan Skills: The Vulcan nerve pinch AND the mind meld.I distinctly remember trying to use both on these on my kid sister when I would babysit. I would always get in trouble for the nerve pinch since it hurt, but at the time I was convinced there just wasn’t a brain to read which caused the mind-meld to fail
Editors note: For the record, I have the smartest kid sis anywhere! But back then I didn’t know it.
This show, and Nimoy’s character more than any else, helped push me to learn as much science as I could when I was young, I’d read weather and ocean books, look at geology books at the library. Santa one year brought me the coolest chemistry set, and I would do the experiments over and over again. (I am sure they stunk! Thanks Mom for putting up with me!)
Nimoy did more than just Spock though. He was on Mission Impossible, the Twilight Zone and many old westerns. He also did a great show in the 70s called “In Search Of” investigating ghosts, the Lochness monster, bigfoot, etc. Again, stuff a preteen science person ate up each and every week. I couldn’t get enough.
In the 80s, I was lucky enough to hear him speak live at Washington State University. Our basketball stadium was huge and it sold out when he showed up. He was as smart in person as he ever was on TV, but he also had a great sense of humor. He had the audience laughing the entire time. I was a very poor college kid, but I gave up beer and coffee money to him speak and never regretted it.
I am waiting for the trolls on-line to start posting complaints about how many people are sad about Nimoy but don’t seem to care about other deaths and pain in the world. “All because he is a celebrity!”
I am here to tell you I don’t give a crap about him being a TV star. I was sad because this man, through the character that he portrayed, had a direct effect on me for over 45 years. I learned what logic was from him, how to calculate odds, and before there was MacGyver, that sometimes you can build what you need if you just look around for the right supplies. Luckily Kirk taught me not to obey the odds, but I can figure them out!
The universe of Star Fleet will never be the same now that he has passed. Kids nowadays get influenced by Khardasians or Jersey Shore. I am lucky to have been a kid when I was.
My one hope of all hopes, is that someone, Boeing, Space X, or hell even the Russians or Chinese, will get his ashes into space and release him into the cosmos. I can think of no better memorial or afterlife for him than to travel through space in real life.
I want to leave you will my favorite Spock interaction, and it is NOT LLAP.
Mr. Spock: Mr. Scott, since the Enterprise is obviously functional, I suggest we return to our starting place at top warp speed.
Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott: Aye, sir, but even at that it’ll take us a while to get there.
Mr. Spock: In that case, Mr. Scott, I suggest we start at once. Can you give me warp 8?
Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott: Aye, sir. And maybe a wee bit more. I’ll sit on the warp engines myself and nurse them.
Mr. Spock: That position, Mr. Scott, would not only be unavailing, but also… undignified
Good bye Leonard, thank you for all you did, and everything you taught the preteen geek so long ago! You will be missed sir!