When Star Trek first arrived on television in 1966, it was perfect timing for me. I was just a nine-year-old kid in search of a super hero. After that first show, I was hooked. I had found my super hero role model in Captain James Tiberius Kirk.
True, I had always fancied myself the two-fisted, self-righteous, pompous windbag type. Most other nine-years went the Superman or Batman route but, the cape and spandex tights scene never appealed to me. I always thought it a bit too showy, not to mention clingy.
Speaking of klingy, as one who sat and watched the very first Star Trek episode ever, I was there to watch Kirk beat the ever-living gagh out of his first Klingon. From my naive nine-year-old perspective, saving the universe each week was the kind of thing that could make you really popular with the girls. It also really appealed to my sense of self worth and carried over into my every day life.
Indeed, whenever I found myself in a bind that required some quick thinking, super-hero type action, I would ask myself, “What Captain Kirk would do in this situation?”
Well, any Trekkie worth his weight in tribbles knew that Kirk, after beating the stuffing out of some good-for-nothing alien lizard creature (in the worst TV fight scene ever – link below), would find a peaceful solution to their conflict and then afterwards, wax on endlessly about intergalactic peace, harmony and all that prime directive crap.
Then Kirk would scoop up the cute girl in the mini skirt and warp factor two his way out of there as the credits began to roll.
Captain Kirk impressed me so much that, when the time came to pick a confirmation name, I chose the name “James” – although I must admit my first choice was actually “Spock.” My parents and Father O’Reilly had to talk me out of the name, suggesting that even the names “Scotty” or “Tiberius” were more appropriate. Besides, they assured me, women find Vulcans very boring.
Even in high school, I still found myself wondering what would Kirk do in any given situation. This is probably where a lot of my problems in adolescence began. Lets face it, most girls in high school don’t want to date a guy who wears a Starfleet uniform to school – even if he can do the Vulcan “live long a prosper” salute with both hands, and one foot.
Still, like Kirk, chivalrous to a fault, I was at the ready to defend the honour of any damsel in distress.
Example: You are at your high school dance when you see some creepy guy bothering a girl that you know. Well, what are you going to do? Well, any super hero worth his weight in spandex tights is going to do something, right?
What would Captain Kirk do? Kirk would approach the bully and warn him off by saying something like, “Listen mister. I’d prefer to settle this peacefully and within Prime Directive parameters but, if I have to, I’ll kick your butt half way to Alpha Centauri and back if you don’t watch your manners.” Then, I’d stare him in the eye with that look that says, I really will bust you one in the chops (you ugly klingon bastard). Of course, if that didn’t work, Kirk could always get his talented alien friend Mr. Spock to slap a Vulcan mind meld on him, blowing up his brain and leaving him in a completely vegetative state. Unfortunately, the only alien friends I had were in grade 9 and, the only talents they had were making fart noises with their armpits.
Hey, I was no hero. Never in a million years would I take that approach. I was a realist at heart and knew that if a bully didn’t go for my bluff, I could end up taking a full phaser blast to the face. And, unlike Kirk, I didn’t have some genius Doctor McCoy on standby ready to put my nose back where it belonged.
The truth is, in a tense situation like this, forget my Star Trek daydreams, I’d be more likely use the Woody Allen approach, attempting to dazzle some half wit thug with a complex diatribe of adjectives and tap dancing. And then, I’d make up a story about how they’re giving away free beer in the parking lot and that he should go check it out.
If you haven’t noticed, Star Trek is still a big player in pop culture and society in general. Just as it has played a significant part in my life, it affects the lives of many (mostly nerds) today.
I know what you’re thinking. Beam me up, this guy is nuttier than a waldorf salad. OK, it’s not like I’m going to dedicate my life to learning the klingon language or join the William Shatner fan club. That all ended years ago, when I turned 50.
Still, you’ve got to admit, life does tend to imitate art. Already, a lot of our technology like ipads, ipods and cell phones emulate Star Trek’s tech. So, don’t be surprised if the next fashion craze (after body piercing) turns out to be surgically enhanced pointy ears.
And now, to view the absolute best fight scene in TV history, follow the link. Cheers, timo