When I Was Spock and Paris [nostalgia]

While growing up in the ’60s, television introduced me to Star Trek and its characters. One character who attracted me to the program and kept me watching with keen interest was Mr. Spock, played by the late Leonard Nimoy. Spock was fascinating, not because of his pointed ears and slanted eyebrows, but because of his analytical mind. He was the starship’s leading science officer, exploring data of every phenomenon presented on the weekly series, and solving mysteries. He was the Sherlock Holmes of Star Trek.

I was already an avid reader of Sherlock Holmes and tried to watch every televised movie starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Puzzle solving fascinated me. I studied codes and ciphers, wrote my own language, and pretended I was Holmes … until Star Trek came along one September Thursday night in 1966. After that, I was Spock.

My brothers and I playacted our favorite TV shows outdoors (Mom never allowed us to play indoors). There, every summer, autumn, winter and spring, we playacted characters from Daniel Boone, The Wild Wild West, and The Man from UNCLE. Star Trek was our favorite, so my brothers were Kirk, McCoy, Sulu and Scotty, and I was Mr. Spock, turning our backyard into the starship Enterprise and boldly going into our wild imaginations sparked and fueled by a TV show that had the best characters ever. Even after the show’s cancellation in 1969, I was still telling them whether our missions and actions were logical or not.

After Star Trek, Nimoy joined the cast of Mission: Impossible. I was already a fan of the show because of its espionage stories, so I was thrilled when “The Great Paris” arrived. Paris (whose real name was never revealed) was an actor, magician and a master of disguise make-up artist; he sometimes helped the team crack codes, enter the enemy’s lair, and foil the bad guys. Though not as good a character as Spock, I gave Paris a more analytical mind when my brothers and I playacted the show.

When I read Nimoy’s I Am Not Spock in 1976, I was 19 and still Spock … well, still thinking analytically and trying to see logic in the crazy world around me. Nimoy’s book, in quick summary, is about an actor who takes seriously his profession and does what he feels is right for both him and the production he is employed with. It was then that I took art seriously. I studied it every chance I got and became determined to do well at the craft, all the while determined to do what I felt right for me and the art I was doing. This became true for my writing too and became my mantra in life. Nimoy repeats this philosophy in his later book, I Am Spock. And just like he did for all those years after the first run of Star Trek, I too hear Spock’s voice in my mind commenting on humanity’s irrational aspect … especially now while the world seems like a crazier place than ever before.

Rest in peace Mr. Nimoy. And Mr. Spock, may you live long and prosper.

Remembering Thought-Provoking Quotes from Andy Rooney

He was the guy at the end of the news show 60 Minutes who added personal commentary to leave us something to think about. Although I didn’t always agree with the man (though mostly I did), he always left my family and me discussing his topics when the show was over. Here are some of those topics.

  • I don’t think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers.
  • The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America. Try to have things like the United Caucasian College Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America; and see what happens.
  • Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.
  • I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason; that is why there are no girls allowed. Girls belong in the Girl Scouts!
  • I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.
  • I have the right “NOT” to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off.
  • When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling; it is the Law of Probability.
  • I believe that if you are selling me a milkshake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room [in the USA], you must do it in English! As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English! My father and grandfather didn’t die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come over and disrespect ours.
  • I think the police should have every right to shoot your sorry butt if you threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can’t understand the word “freeze” or “stop” in English, see the above lines.
  • I don’t think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business.
  • We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their interpretations.
  • I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more. If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system that’s better, and put your name on the building.
  • It doesn’t take a whole village to raise a child right, but it does take a parent to stand up to the kid; and smack their little behinds when necessary, and say “NO!”
  • I think tattoos and piercing are fine if you want them, but please don’t pretend they are a political statement. And, please, stay home until that new lip ring heals. I don’t want to look at your infected mouth as you serve me French fries!
  • I am sick of “Political Correctness.” I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa; so how can they be “African-Americans”? Besides, Africa is a continent. I don’t go around saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great, great, great-grandfather was from Europe.
  • If you don’t like my point of view, tough.