First off, I did absolutely nothing exciting or Layla-like this week. Unless you count one episode of white-knuckled-driving-several-miles-on-sheer-ice. But the good news is the bitter cold and crud are supposed to start melting this week. I sure hope so ‘cause I’m going stir crazy.
Second, thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers for my close friend. He was in worse shape than anyone thought, but as of today he’s out of the hospital and doing better. He has nothing but praise for the paramedics, doctors, nurses, and other medical folk who literally saved his life. And I’m grateful too.
Finally, I’ve got to say something about Leonard Nimoy passing away.
A part of me (usually hidden) has long been a Trekkie. As a young kid I watched Star Trek when it was on TV way back in the 60’s. Mr. Spock and Kirk and the other crew members really were a part of my childhood. But then the show was cancelled (I was devastated!) only to return in reruns when I was in college, and then in movies, and then in other series, until it became part of our American culture.
If you think I’m exaggerating, check out Nimoy’s obituary in the New York Times (Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83). Speaking logically (Spock would like that), Leonard Nimoy was not a major movie star or celebrity whose passing deserved widespread reporting. Yet his picture and obituary were front-page headlines on the electronic version of the newspaper and over a thousand readers posted comments.
My favorite is from a scientist who reported that when news of Nimoy’s passing spread through her university, her colleagues closed themselves in their offices to shed a private tear. “The role of Mr. Spock meant so much to many of us. Mr. Nimoy’s character made science cool, made being a scientist cool. Countless colleagues are STEM professionals because of him. If this alien character could do it and be respected for being a scientist, then maybe we could be doing science too – men, women, African-Americans – no matter what we looked like.”
What you have to realize too, for those of you too young to remember, is that Star Trek was so freaking POSITIVE. In a decade of war, assassinations, mass starvation, drugs, struggles for civil rights, and threats of nuclear annihilation, here came this low-ratings TV show that presented an extraordinarily hopeful vision of humanity’s future.
Give us a couple centuries, Gene Roddenberry said in episode after episode, and we’ll stop being violent, ignorant, bigoted jackasses. We’ll learn to get along. We’ll have peace and prosperity. Even today, when dystopian and apocalyptic tastes rule our sci-fi and paranormal creations, Star Trek remains an anomaly. When I was a kid, I could go from being depressed and scared after watching the nightly news with my Dad, to feeling good after watching Star Trek.
So thank you, Leonard Nimoy, for embodying to perfection a fictional character who became necessary and real to many of us.
Beam him up, Scotty.