Friday, September 9, 2016

Learning From Star Trek

My apologies for not posting sooner.  I've been wrestling with a tremendous migraine headache that shut me down for several days.  I've been drinking Gatorade and nibbling on cheese and crackers to keep the body going, while the brain kept saying, "Crawl into a dark hole and die."   Luckily Lovey and Nedi know when I'm not feeling well.  Lovey just huddles as close to my face as she can get, and stays there.  Nedi comes in every three or four hours and touches my face with a feather-soft paw, sits for a minute or two, and then retreats.  I guess Lovey tells him she's got me covered.  Anyway, I'm feeling much better today and will head out to walk Rosie and Charlie this morning in about an hour.
   Fifty years ago, yesterday, I sat on the floor in our living room in our small house in Florida.  I had done my homework, and was (probably) already in my pajamas - I had a 9 o'clock bedtime on school nights, and I had just started fifth grade.  NBC was showing the premiere of a new television show, and I did not want to miss a second of it.  The show, Star Trek, was a new science fiction series; and it was to showcase cooperation of all humans and countries on Earth, as well as other planets.  I was awed by the thought of a "United Federation of Planets," and was eager to see what would happen.  I fell in love with the show, with the concept, and with Mr. Spock.  Originally, the first show to be broadcast was supposed to be "Where No Man Has Gone Before."  But the network executives didn't think that that specific episode would "catch" viewers - and, so, the first aired episode was "The Man Trap."    Creator Gene Roddenberry had presented the idea of Star Trek as an episodic "Wagon Train to the stars" and had firmly said there would not be a monster-of-the-week in each episode.  - And what do the executives give us?  A weird looking creature, female, the last of her kind, who needs huge amounts of salts to survive - and she gets them by tricking and killing crewmen from the USS Enterprise.  Poor Gene Roddenberry.....
   Forty years ago, I attended the first 10-year Star Trek convention over Labor Day weekend at the Statler Hilton Hotel, next door to Macy's, in New York City.  Almost every one of the actors was there, folks who had two appearances or more, and all of the main cast - except Leonard Nimoy, who was appearing in the Helen Hay Theatre in the play Equus.  But even Leonard Nimoy appeared, making an unscheduled showing on stage, which excited my friend so much that she was puking.  I missed the appearance, but not the barf...  I had been in another venue, and had gotten Mark Lenard's autograph.   And my group, Mary, Kathryn, Carol and I, got to see Nimoy on stage in Equus, as well as out on the streets of New York, as we tried to decide on a tea room after the play.  Carol was so intent on her local NYC map that she ran directly into Nimoy's chest - and was very flustered.
   Mom and Dad had always tried to raise my sister and I without prejudice toward any one or any thing.  Dad was always urging us to try new foods, new ideas, new places, new books....  I think that Dad ended up enjoying Star Trek for those three seasons as much as I did.  He certainly dove into my science fiction books, fantasy books, and historical novels after the first year of Star Trek.  I really have to thank my parents - and Star Trek - for opening my eyes to things that had been hidden, or unseen by me, before.  Thanks to Star Trek, I do believe in the IDIC symbol.  Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

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