Yep, I’m a Star Trek fan. Have been as long as I can remember.
I used to audio record episodes when we’d visit my grandparents house in Florida so I could replay them over and over. (There were a few episodes that I could almost recite from memory.) And then, when WTVC began showing episodes late on Saturday nights, mom, dad, me and dad’s friend Larry, would sit around the den and watch.
Like many kids that fell into Star Trek fandom, I identified with and idolized Spock. There was something about that conflicted and, at times, tortured character that hit my sweet spot. And I know I wasn’t the only one.
And yeah, like a lot of Spock fans, I shed a tear at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when Spock’s body was torpedoed with a giant ptui! into space near the Genesys planet. (I also had a girlfriend around that time that bawled in the theatre when the Enterprise was destroyed in the atmosphere of the Genesys planet during Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.)
Fast forward far too many years to late February… I was traveling to a race in Chattanooga, sitting in a Krystal in Clarksville TN having lunch, when my phone goes off. My daughter sends me a message, asking if I was ok. I had no idea what she was talking about. And then she told me.
Leonard Nimoy died.
Frankly, that didn’t hit me as hard as I thought it would. I mean, yeah, it sucked, but there was no question it was coming. Advanced age and COPD aren’t exactly a great combination for long life and prosperity. (See what I did there?)
A bit later, I heard about a virtual race with a Nimoy-themed medal, in honor of his life and his work on Star Trek, and benefitting the COPD Foundation. I had to sign up. And yesterday, I put in my miles for this virtual race.
It was a rainy, soggy day, drizzling when I started, and pouring by the time I finished. I’m sure folks were staring at this lumbering goofball, trudging through the rain. I waved at the cyclists as they sped by — we have a ton of them out here — and some actually waved back. I mean, we were obviously both nuts from the same tree, being out in this crazy spring rain.
About four kilometers in, this very nice gentleman with a score of years on me, stopped on the very busy road on which I was traveling, and asked if I needed a ride. I told him I was just out exercising, and thanked him profusely for stopping.
And that’s really it. (Aside from the inherent irony of Creedence’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain” beginning to play on my iPod as the rain began to furiously come down about halfway through my journey.) There’s still kindness and respect out there — cyclists waving, motorists stopping — and that, to me, is the wonderful discovery on this journey of running that I’ve undertaken. I’ve had so much support and encountered so much decent humanity out there as I’ve logged my (generally) solitary miles… For the next race (also virtual), I’ll write more about that.
And I expect to continue racing and writing for some time to come. I’m kinda addicted to the medals, the people, and this way of thinking. I’m doing things that five years ago, I would never have believed I could do. And I’m taking chances… I mean, I have my first 10K and a half marathon coming up this year.
What kind of nut am I?!?!?! 🙂
(BTW, the photo of me is from a “helmet dive” off the cost of Aruba a few weeks ago. Seemed like a unique opportunity!)