Monday, March 2, 2015

Long Life and Prosperity

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP—Leonard Nimoy
I can't think of many people who, in playing not only another person, but another species, in an acting role, has affected so many. And I don't think there is anyone in our popular culture who has touched us in his passing as much as this man.

In the age of social media, I think only two other deaths have had as large a presence: Steve Jobs and Nelson Mandela.

Leonard Nimoy, in his portrayal of STAR TREK's half-human, half-Vulcan character, taught our generation of humanity's strengths and weaknesses. During the space race and the Cold War, he taught us that only as a cohesive unit, working together, can the world achieve great things. In the 80s, in The Voyage Home, Spock showed us the consequences of our short-sightedness in not caring for our planet.

Even in his reprisal in the remake of the 2009 film, STAR TREK, Spock showed us our lives are not set in stone, and that we have to take charge of our destinies.

I saw my first episode of the original series when I was three, and grew up watching reruns, countless times, in my youth and teenage years. I have seen all of the movies, became an addict over The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. To say that I have been immersed in the STAR TREK culture is an understatement.

And that culture would not have existed, if not for Spock, James T. Kirk, and the crew of the Enterprise. As much as I looked up to Captain Kirk for leadership, I turned to Spock for inspiration, for hope, for perfect reasoning.

Even outside of the STAR TREK universe, Leonard Nimoy has had a profound presence. I saw him in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where, even then, in his role of Dr. Kibner, he tells of how humanity, in being turned into clones by alien pods, would be in a better state without emotions.

Each week, in the late 70s and early 80s, after watching yet another episode of the original series, I would turn to a show called In Search Of..., which was narrated by Nimoy. The show would explore strange phenomena and try to explain theories in unsolved mysteries, such as the disappearance of Amilia Earhart. The show was, in Spock's words, fascinating, and I felt that having Nimoy behind it lent the show some authority.

"A solar eclipse. The cosmic ballet goes on."
Nimoy even lent his deep, serious voice to The Simpsons, where he played himself but also insinuated that he was part spaceman. And on an episode of The Big Bang Theory, nerdy and self-absorbed genius, Sheldon Cooper, has an imaginary conversation with his Spock action figure. Leonard Nimoy, of course, gave the figure its voice.

Many Canadians have also honoured the Vulcan by defacing a five-dollar bill, transforming Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier into Spock.

I didn't do this: you shouldn't, either. But still...

I have even consumed and reviewed a beer that was inspired by Spock. In the past couple of years, I have followed Leonard Nimoy on Twitter, and have also admired his photography.

Nimoy has been like a star on my journey, not always guiding but ever-present. Now that that star has been extinguished, the universe seems a darker place. But, just as our eyes adjust to the dimness in a lightless room, our lives will go on, having been enriched by the man, whose character gave humanity hope for its future.

He lived long, he prospered, and our lives are made better for him having been there.
Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human—William Shatner, as Captain James T. Kirk

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