It was through Twitter that I learned of Leonard Nimoy’s passing. Of course it was, for a nerd/geek like me. Just another technology developed from the eternal optimism of the Star Trek universe. Although, tweets don’t travel through sub-space, for better or worse.
It’s been a few days, and I thought it necessary to compose my own dedication to his memory. However, during that time, I’ve read so many wonderful stories of people I “get”, fellow nerds throughout their school years and beyond. They have told the tale with far better effect than I ever could. I’ll leave the memorials to them.
And that’s the thing. It’s not just a memory of the person, one few of us ever met. It’s what he (and his ever-typecast character) represented. A lifelong journey towards logical solutions. A control of emotions to be most effective at whatever task you attempt. An unshakable loyalty and friendship with those closest to you.
Spock served as the only alien on the bridge of the Enterprise. Beyond that, he was half-human, making him an outsider to both sides. Too human to be a Vulcan, too Vulcan to be a human. How many of us grew up feeling this way? A nerd wasn’t the cool kid in school. A geek didn’t get chosen first for the kickball team. You loved things others didn’t understand…your walls were adorned with starships, galaxies, and tricorder specs, not cars, bands, and attractive celebrities. Yet when Star Trek came on TV (before DVR and On Demand, we simply had to wait), we connected with the quiet, logical figure at his corner station on the bridge.
Many imagined themselves as crew of the USS Enterprise. Some saw themselves as an outspoken doctor (“Bones”), others a charismatic captain (Kirk), while some represented the engineer who’s giving it all she’s got (Scotty), or an empowered woman ensuring reliable communications (Uhura). Us misunderstood few looked to the one who just didn’t fit in, yet overcame that with diligent intellect, unshakable loyalty, and just a bit of dry humor (hey, none of us wanted to be red shirts!).
The most fitting euology I’ve read quoted Kirk at the end of Star Trek II: “Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most..human.”
“I have been, and always shall be, your friend.” Farewell, Mr. Nimoy.
Image credit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/multimedia/ero/index.html