This requires a little introduction, but I’ll try (try!) to be brief:
In high school… no, I have to start before that.
My mother (my Bible-Belt-based, love of Jesus, turn that Devil music off, mother) grew up watching Star Trek: The Original Series. (Just Star Trek–the one, the only–as it was known in our house.) She passed on that love to me, and I started watching old episodes on VHS and reading unofficial Trek books from the 80s when I was about… 11? (11 was quite the year, really; started my period, read, “Interview with the Vampire” and began waiting for Lestat to bring me the Dark Gift, fell in love with Mr. Spock, started having panic attacks before school… busy busy busy.)
Anyways, by the time I started high school, several years later, I was unashamedly in love with Star Trek (NEVER Next Gen!) and, particularly, Spock and McCoy. I loved them so, so much. I used the phrase, “I am Vulcan; there is no pain,” as a mantra many times, when enduring my difficult transition through adolescence. I altered the phrase, “I’m a doctor, not a ___” and used it where I could, though not as often. I tried to enjoy chess (I hate chess) and only do things if they met certain logical criteria. I started to put on a slight Southern accent (McCoy’s from Georgia, same as me; but unlike me, he naturally has the accent to prove it.)
I bored the shit out of all my close friends (all… 3? 4? of them) by explaining, in detail, both the plots (I used the word loosely) and morals and life lessons contained in my favourite episodes of Star Trek. I imagine I probably got laughed at, for wearing my, “All I Need to Know About Life I Learned from Star Trek” shirt–regularly–to school (I kinda noticed at the time, but fuck them, anyways. They *wish* they loved something with as pure a love as the love I have for Star Trek).
Most importantly of all, right there in the middle of Bible Belt Nowhere, I developed a deep understanding that different colours and races and creeds and beliefs were okay. By the time I was 15-16, I was sitting in the school library (surprisingly progressive, actually) and reading about gender equality and gay rights and religions other than my own and who knows what else. And when I graduated high school–after being unconditionally accepted into Southeastern Bible College, my application to same being the last great flare up of my religious sentiment–I turned the school down, and instead, moved to a far distant land, to pursue a more informal sort of study of other nationalities and cultures.
Truly. I’m not sure it’s everything I *need* to know–I’ve picked up a few more ideas along the way–but everything that informed my choices when I was starting my adult life, I learned from Star Trek.
Complete with the rosily optimistic viewpoint inherent in those episodes, which has at times made me ill-equipped when things don’t just work themselves out, or when people behave consistently churlishly… but still. Star Trek isn’t a bad place to get your morals and ethics (peace, a focus on the greater good over personal gain, free love, the eradication of poverty/hunger/inequality/disease, human advancement without pandering to notions of an Unseen Being judging you, acceptance of ideologies and cultures other than ones own… it’s beautiful).
And of course, Star Trek wouldn’t be Star Trek without that maverick of mavericks, Captain Kirk; but I have things to do *other* than writing this blog, and I have to go now. I’ll try to return tomorrow, to explain why I believe I might be Captain Kirk.
Who, by the by, is easily my least favourite character from TOS, even including most of the guest stars/villains/the characters from the pilot episode which were not used/any character other than a throw-away red shirt.