Today the entire world mourns the passing of a truly great man in Leonard Nimoy. The news hit me particularly hard this morning, as he’s been something of an idol for me since I was pretty young. Not only was he the amazing Spock, but he could also be silly with that fantastic Bilbo Baggins song. In order to really convey how much Mr. Nimoy’s work meant to me, I’ll have to wax personal a little bit. I hope no one minds.
My childhood was a bit of a mess, to put it politely. Hell, I should just get out with it - being a kid was a giant shitpile. There was more stress, isolation and general insanity than a child should have to deal with, and there are large chunks of the whole experience that I simply don’t remember. The parts I do remember involve a lot of being frightened and alone, with short bursts of happiness because no one’s life is completely miserable.
I discovered Star Trek somewhere between being 9 and 12, I think. Like I said, memories from back then are a little fuzzy. But I was still a child, not yet a teenager and I was completely enraptured by Spock and the Vulcans. He always seemed so serene, a calmness I desperately wished I had. The idea of a culture so completely devoted to logic was something that appealed to me a great deal, as my life was fairly devoid of it.
Large emotions were also a problem for me, and watching The Original Series I saw Spock as being so together, the perfect disposition. So I started imitating him, keeping my emotions under a pretty tight leash. Eventually, because of several (probably) non-canon novels I devoured like no one’s business, I learned that Vulcan’s don’t actually suppress their emotions, but rather have a unique way of processing them so that they don’t show on the surface. I tried to incorporate that into my processing of emotions, to various degrees of success. Lets just say I wouldn’t have been able to go through the Kolinahr, but I got pretty good at keeping the darker large emotions from getting the better of me. It was a defense mechanism, one I wouldn’t have had without Star Trek.
So thank you, Mr. Nimoy, for teaching me to handle the darkness that life threw at me. I don’t know what I would have done without you.