Badass of the universe...
Welcome to August 20, 2002. The first day of the rest of
I had an interesting little adventure in Kansas this past
weekend. I won't bore you with the details (but, believe
me, they are anything but boring), but it got me to
pondering the motivations in my life.
I'm just a simple man, trying to make his way in the
universe. My first motto is "The guilt of doing is not as
bad as the remorse of never having done", and the second
is "WWSD?" ("What would Shatner do?")
I forget who said it, probably one of the producers
of "Free Enterprise", but it has been said that Shatner's
Captain Kirk character is easily the role model for every
red-blooded american boy. I would have to second that
motion. If you think about it, he is everything that most
of us men aspire to be. He can phaser-blast a Klingon to
hell with one hand, hold some hot alien chick with the
other, and talk a super-computer into committing suicide
all at the same time. We all want to explore. We want to
be brave and handsome in the face of unbeatable odds.
Sadly, most of us will fall short of that mark, the bar of
big damn manliness that Shatner set for us all.
One of my earliest memories is going with my Dad to Tremont
to see STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. (I was probably 4 or
5, but I do have a vivid recollection of the event.) I
just remember being facinated by what I saw. Something big
and bad was coming to wipe out Earth, so these heroic men
and women climb into this huge spaceship to go fight it.
And there was this one man at the center of it all. The
man in charge. The man who all the others considered to be
just short of God herself. James Kirk. I wanted to BE
him. To just have a tiny piece of him.
I fell so in love with the notion of Kirk that I would
spend hours in front of the television, watching the
original series, playing with my Enterprise models and
having adventures with my Kirk and Spock action figures. I
would even sit up late at night trying to teach myself to
speak in the somewhat broken meter Shatner uses when
playing Kirk. Forget it. I was a pint-sized Kirk. In my
mind, I was on the bridge trying to pull off the Corbomite
bluff. Pulling up Reliant's prefix code was my idea. It
was me, sacrificing everything I hold dear to come to the
rescue of my best friend.
When I got to elementary school, I met a fairly like minded
individual named Joe Daffner. He was my Spock. To be
honest, I'm not sure he had the same passion for the
character that I did, but he was with me every step of the
way. He would point out, in his eminent six year old's
logic the folly of our trying to attack the evil Romulans
who took over the ship and stranded us on some deserted
planet. (Or, if you prefer, the older kids threw us off
the jungle gym and made us play out little "Geek Trek" over
by the sliding board.)
Children are truly an evil group. To spend any time on a
school playground is to watch Darwin in action. (I start
to wonder if the dinosaurs became extinct because all the
early mammals would pound them with dodgeballs when they
weren't looking.) Apparently, the heriarchy of "popular"
kids decided that this little geekiness of ours would no
longer be tolerated on their playground, and so, a reign of
terror that would pale the Spanish Inquisition came down
hard on the two of us. We were taunted, physically and
emotionally abused, and pretty much banished from
playground activity. In true Kirk form, we held strong for
a time until our spirit finally was broken. Then, what I
had held onto as a beacon, a signpost pointing to the
proper way to live life, had to be hidden and denied if I
wanted to keep from being beaten up that morning.
So, as is nature's way, I eventually grew up. Somehow, I
didn't quite grow to be the man I imagined myself to be
those 21 years ago. I'm not the bravest. I'm certaintly
not the best looking. But I can reach down into my heart,
find my little inner Kirk, and muster up enough courage to
do the hard and difficult things that life calls for.
Ok, you can call me a geek now. And you can go to hell,
cause I'm proud of it. :)
Beam me up.