May 11, 2009
Still in Love with Spock After All These Years
My love affair with Spock is no passing fancy. I was starstruck at age 11, when I first watched Star Trek on TV and hid under the coffee table because I was afraid of having the salt drained from my body by an alien and being covered with red welts, just like Darnell in “The Man Trap.” I wanted to be Spock, whose blood was immune to such things. I vowed to live long and prosper, and I wore a red turtleneck every day of sixth grade because I wanted to be mistaken for a member of the Enterprise crew. (You can imagine what this did for my popularity.)
I could only do that weird split-finger Vulcan salute with my right hand and never my left, due to some genetic quirk. Despite this minor physical shortcoming, I persevered. Whenever my best friend and I played Star Trek, with our very own cardboard box Enterprise bridge and my pet gerbil as an extra crew member, she was always fearless Kirk to my rational, conflicted Spock.
Spock was the first man to whom I wrote a love letter, and in return for it I received an autographed photograph. I pressed that picture inside my favorite horse book, My Friend Flicka, for the next six years or so. (I would still have it, but my father was a Navy officer, so nothing was forever.)
I thought my lust for sexy Vulcans was gone for good, too, until I went to see the latest Star Trek movie with my youngest son, now 11, exactly the same age I was when Spock first ignited my passions. It was Mother’s Day, so we saw Star Trek in a sold-out IMAX cinema north of Boston. It was a digital, full body experience far removed from the pale, flickering television of my youth. This theater had a towering screen, rumbling seats and a sound system that made me feel like the theater was being nuked the minute before the opening credits.
But I didn’t think about the theater at the time. While my husband and son were entranced by the battle scenes, I had eyes only for Spock. Or should I say “Spocks”? Leonard Nimoy was the Spock of the future, a grand old man who can still do the most famous split-finger salute in the universe and say “Live long and prosper” and make you think he means it. Our present-day Spock was played by Zachary Quinto, who had to have his fingers glued because he couldn’t do that funky Vulcan finger thing, either. Must be the same genetic quirk I have. (William Shatner used fishing line to perform the trick in the original series. Check out http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25459863-5012980,00.html)
I first noticed the actor Quinto as Sylar (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0704270/bio) on the brain-bruising Sci Fi conundrum that is Heroes (http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/) . He is perhaps best known as the villain who can open the craniums of his victims the way you or I might lift the lids off of yogurt containers. Could Quinto possibly pull this off, I wondered? Could he reignite my passion for all things Vulcan and make me remember why I loved Spock?
Yes, yes, yes! Quinto plays a brooding Spock with such loyalty to his human mother that he does unVulcan things like clock whatever dumb ass insults her. He has the classic arched eyebrow, the ability to easily subdue lesser men with a single shoulder pinch, and says “fascinating” with authority.
Did I care whether the Federation, with its courageous Enterprise crew, subdued this latest rebel ship of the Romulan Empire (http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Romulan_Star_Empire)? Not one whit. On Mother’s Day, I cared only that the movie brought my first love back to me.