Something to bring a smile to your face (especially if, like me, you’re a life-long Trekk[ie/er]) — A love letter to Star Trek.
One year and a couple months ago, on Star Date something-or-other, my sons and I started a family tradition by accident. We rented the first disk of what seemed like an endless set of Star Trek: The Next Generation DVDs.
I don’t remember those early shows now. All I remember is watching three boys huddled under a navy blue crocheted afghan, mouths open, eyes krazy-glued to the small screen in our sunroom while reflected images of people with ridged skulls and pointed ears flickered on three glass corner windows. They were hooked.
One day, a bad bad day, when many soldiers lost lives in that distant senseless war, my middle son stood with barefeet on the cold tile floor of the kitchen, listening to NPR, and clenched his fists in frustration.
“Why don’t they stop fighting? We’re never going to join a Federation of Planets if this continues. Don’t they know that? Why don’t they want to help end starvation instead? I wish we lived in the future.”
Something about the mythology, the space, the ongoing conundrums of time, kept my sons going, kept them full of hope. They started reading books about the solar system. They followed the NASA mission to Mars and knew more about it than their teachers. They built star ships of blankets and chairs in the sunroom and spent lazy Saturday afternoons playing with styrofoam planets. All peaceful, all scientific and humane. Children from the future.
The last season of Star Trek came too fast. We watched the last episode last night. My boys have grown tall and already those Star Trek shirts are getting tight. They look forward to renting Deep Space Nine episodes. I look forward to it, too, but my heart knows this time is over, no anomalies can bring it back.
As a child who grew up on the origninal Star Trek, sitting on my dad’s lap and pointing excitedly somewhere over my shoulder as the Starship Enterprise swept across the screen, I can easily identify with the sense of wonder, excitement, and hope that these kids are just finding now.
Wil Wheaton also has some nice things to say about this post.