I was halfway through composing a new Desert Droppings post, when our son called to share the sad news that Leonard Nimoy aka Mr. Spock, had passed away at the age of 83.
Eighty three no longer sounds as old and long-lived as it once did. And to lose Leonard Nimoy at any age is too soon.
I put aside my post – in- progress and let memories flood in. I could picture a toddler sized shirt with Star Trek characters on it. I felt again an appreciation for Star Trek’s sly messages of respect, tolerance, and acceptance of diversity whether it be a half white- half black humanoid or a rock (which Spock’s painful mind- meld revealed to be a mother protecting her pebbly offspring). I recalled a 1980’s day at the mall where, while his sisters cringed in embarrassment, our son and I dramatically acted out Spock’s death scene from “The Wrath of Kahn.” We pressed our hands against an imaginary glass pane, gasped out the soulful dialogue, and sank slowly to the ground.
Ah, Spock. You came back to life in Star Trek III as both character and director, but, sorry to say the encores are over.
There are people who leave a positive imprint on our lives even though we never actually meet them; people whom we expect to be there…always, whenever we choose to happily recall them. It’s like knowing that the porch light’s lit back home, even though we haven’t been back in a very long time.
Maybe I feel a special connection to Leonard Nimoy because he was brought up in a Yiddish speaking home as I was. Maybe I feel an aging Trekkie’s admiration for the half human- half Vulcan Mr. Spock and his humane, unshakeable logic calmly delivered with that superbly ironic arch of an eyebrow. Maybe, in the rosy glow of nostalgia, Spock represents a robust, optimistic rationality that appears to be fearfully lacking these days. From Congress to cyberspace, those that profess to inform and direct the rest of us, go about their dubious machinations with less common sense than a tubful of Tribbles. While the media reports ever more ominous threats from “extremists” and “terrorists,” whose malevolent message we shudder to comprehend, our lawmakers toy with the notion of spitefully shutting down Homeland Security!
“Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
We hear you, Spock!
Star Trek, of course, lives on in TV syndication and websites where nearly every detail of every scene can be viewed and commented on. Despite the now gawky special effects – “Turbulence!” (i.e. Everyone sway to the left. Now everyone sway to the right. Now fall out of your seats.) and the sub-Shakespearean dialogue -(i.e. “All phasers on stun!”) the show and Leonard Nimoy’s character still speak to a current audience.
Imagine if TV culture and technology had been such that each Star Trek episode was followed by a commentary show a la “The Talking Dead”. Think “Trek Talk” – which would have given Trekkies insights into the inner workings of the series which has inspired such a passionate, decades long following. Imagine how well we would have known Leonard Nimoy. Imagine…
Captain Kirk famously said of Spock, ” Of all the souls I have known in my travels, his was the most human.” Considering the depravity which characterizes some human behavior today, I’m not sure that was a compliment!
Mr. Spock said of Kirk, “I have been and always shall be your friend.” In the broadest sense of the word, the character of Spock will always be my friend, too.
Leonard Nimoy’s last tweet said: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.”
Leonard Nimoy/Mr. Spock, thanks for the moments and the memories. In crossing the final frontier, may your Katra live long and prosper.