My first introduction to Star Trek was a Mego Mr. Spock figure a cousin had given to me. It was a re-gift, because she was a girl and she didn’t play with boy dolls, so she tossed to me and said “You can take that.” I asked what the little blue thing on his hip was and she said, “A gun I think.” That was all I needed to hear, pretty soon my Spock was blasting everything in sight. I held on to it for years and when I eventually gave it to my little brother he bit the head off. By then I was out of the doll playing phase an into the 80’s G.I. Joe figures.
The next time I saw Mr. Spock was on the big screen in 1982. When he saved the starship Enterprise and her crew from the villainous looking Mr. Roarke in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”. I still to this day consider that time in that small theater in San Antonio, TX a moment that shaped the way I saw movies. And the world to a certain extant. It left an indelible impression on my young mind to say the least. I was exposed to bravery, self-sacrifice, and true friendship, all in space no less.
It would be years later when I would get heavy into Star Trek, which eventually helped me form my own true friendships, and a helped me be a little braver. As far as the self-sacrifice? That still rests on Nimoy, Shatner and the rest of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. They would all go decades for being known as only one thing. Part of a group of space explorers that showed us a possible future worth striving for. Yeah, it was a low budget TV show with silly props and funny looking alien costumes, but when Nimoy would explain something in his oh-so serious Mr. Spock tone. I believed him. And all these years later after he accepted his place in popular culture and in history, I can’t help but admire that he lived his life like his most famous character preached. Long and prosperous.
–Robert L. Castillo