It’s silly. I shouldn’t be upset.
I didn’t know Leonard Nimoy. I’m not related to him. I’m not a “superfan.”
Yet I find myself at my desk crying. I’m not sure if this is just what has been a stressful week finally coming to a head or if it’s something else.
When I was young, my mother turned me on to Star Trek, the original series. It was on Saturday afternoons, some Sundays. We would watch it on what we would consider today a ridiculously small General Electric television. My mother would push me towards watching Star Trek, not because she wanted me out from underfoot, but because she loved the message of hope that the series had. Spock’s logic and the stories where he lost his lack of emotion were compelling to me. As a young nerd, I related to Spock. I wanted to be Spock, smart, logical, and unaffected by the petty taunts and teasing of those around me. I wanted the confidence and the respect Spock commanded. I didn’t want to be the brash, jock-ish Kirk. I wanted to be Spock.
Over the years Star Trek was derided as preachy and an unrealistic fantasy. Gritty sci-fi centered around dystopias became the norm. Yet, Star Trek endured, with its message that one day we will be able to get around our own worst natures, get away from the greed, war, and lust for money for it’s own sake. That one day we could overcome the continual strife that limitations on resources like food and clean water bring to the world.
Even more that we could get over the petty hate for people with different skin or different religion. Toleration and celebration, words that are used with derision by some can be the norm. There are those that don’t think that these ideals are worth holding close. They think that because we cannot eliminate our worse natures entirely that it’s not worth trying.
For my part I will not set aside those ideals, portrayed in a wagon-train to the stars. I won’t forget the pleasure and wonder that the series gave me. The warm nostalgia of my childhood, in Nimoy’s voice, first on Star Trek, then with more earthly wonders on In Search Of. I won’t forget his performances in the movies, the pain I felt at Spock’s death, or the quick humor of a reborn Spock on Earth in the 80s, struggling to deal with our society.
Now Nimoy is gone and I feel like I’ve lost a friend I’ve never met. He had a hand in making me see something bright in the gloom of the world and for that I am thankful for him and all he did.
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