I don't normally become sad when a Hollywood figure passes, but today is very different. While I grew up watching and loving the original Star Trek series, my first personal encounter with Leonard Nimoy was at a Toronto Star Trek convention in the early 1990s. I went solo so as to not be tied-down by others, and after getting a drive to the airport hotel from my dad; proceeded to explore the various organizations, displays and merchant tables who happily took my hard-earned allowance in exchange for books, badges and other Star Trek-related knick-knacks.
All told, I would go to three other conventions of this kind and many more comic and fan-cons over my years, but seeing Leonard Nimoy in that crowded convention hall and hearing him speak about his time as the First Officer of the original starship Enterprise, was one of the best times I've ever had at a convention and something I'll remember to the end of my days. Indeed, since 1991, my good luck charm has been a Commander Spock trading card in a plastic case. This little memento has gone with me through exams, graduations, jobs interviews and almost every other cerebral challenge I've ever faced. And while it hasn't always worked (it's only a photo of Spock and not Spock's Brain after all!) I never-the-less will not go into any brain-focussed challenge without it again. To this day, not only does this little card remind me of the greatness of Mr. Spock's intellect, but also those fun times as a nerdy teenager decades ago.
|Spock from Star Trek. He has long been my favourite character in science-fiction and an inspiration. Today is a difficult day.|
I know Leonard Nimoy was an actor, writer, director, photographer, philanthropist and musician. (A very good friend of mine, who I met in 1993 after sharing our mutual love of Star Trek emailed this partial Twilight Zone episode featuring Nimoy today – here it is.) I also know his first biography, I Am Not Spock sought to put some distance between him and the character that made him one of my heroes. But as I recall him, Leonard Nimoy will always be, not only a gifted actor who helped create one of science-fiction's most memorable and inspiring characters, but a funny, warm, erudite and welcoming man who loved every fan he met and subsequently brought a smile to their face. As I hinted, the news of his passing has turned an otherwise sunny Friday into a much more difficult one than I had anticipated this morning. Of course, the stars above will continue to burn and call to us – even if only in science-fiction stories – but knowing Mr. Spock is no longer with us, diminishes them just a little. LLAP, Mr. Nimoy – you will be missed.