While I think that private, uh, enterprise space travel is a little out of this world, spacey (if you will), I’m glad Captain Kirk is getting his big chance in Jeff Bezo’s space vessel, Blue Origin. “Captain Kirk is rocketing into space next week — boldly going where no other sci-fi actors have gone.” (Source)
I was a Trekkie. Yep. Back in the 1970’s. I was a little late coming to the wonders of Star Trek, but I finally arrived. It was a big part of my life, actually, which tells you all you need to know about my life at the time. It went on TV at 4:30 every week day and I never missed it. When I started graduate school (1976) and was discharging my duties as a teaching assistant, I had a terrible dilemma; keep full office hours or bug out 15 minutes early?
At first it was no big deal. No one came to my office hours, but after I’d been teaching for a while (my very first ever class), students started coming around and hanging out. I took off at 4:15 no matter what. One day a kid said, “Why do you always take off early?”
By then, less intimidated by my new status of professor, I felt OK saying, “Star Trek comes on at 4:30.”
The kid (understand he was only 4 or 5 years younger than I was at the time) started laughing. “We all go to the union and buy a pitcher and watch Star Trek. Come on.” At the time, 3.2 beer was legal for 18 year olds in Colorado. I was promoted to “cool professor who drinks beer with students while watching Star Trek.”
I had — in my “office” at home — a life sized free-standing Mr. Spock. When, at the end of the quarter, I invited my students to my and the We-Were-Too-Young X’ house for a party, my students were amused (understatement) to find Mr. Spock standing there. Of course, someone brought him out to the living room to join the party.
Possibly the high point of all this Star Trekkery happened after what seemed like a lllllooonnnnngggg Star Trek hiatus, a Star Trek movie came out. I was visiting my brother and his then wife in Santa Rosa, CA and we decided to go see the movie. The lights went down. The crowd hushed. The Star Trek theme song came up and my brother and I both cried. His wife’s amusement bordered on disgust… “You two,” she said, and shrugged.
It didn’t end there. No. YEARS and YEARS maybe DECADES later, 2009, all this lost in time, my stepson and his wife decided to have Christmas with me in my little house in the San Diego mountains. They brought everything including post-dinner entertainment. We spent the afternoon in the Lagunas where there was 12 inches of snow, then came home for supper. Afterward, presents opened, wood stove cranking, dogs dozing…
“I wasn’t sure about this,” said my stepson. “I think you’re going to be surprised. It seemed like a strange conceit to me, but I think it works.”
He popped a DVD into the DVD player (obviously) and, yeah, here came the music. We were all reverentially silent, the film “rolled” (spun) and we enjoyed it.
I could offer a long analysis about Star Trek but already 900,000,000 people have beat me to it. At this point in my life I think it’s enough to say I really, really liked it. Good luck, Captain Kirk. Live Long(er) and Prosper.