March 26, 1931-February 27, 2015
Today Leonard Nimoy passed away. Here’s a clip of him talking about being Spock
We’ll do up a proper story about him later, but for now..
LIVE LONG AND PROSPER.
Leonard Nimoy has now passed away. Many will make the “live long and prosper” joke, but I am not in a joking mood. Some will make references to this being just like the end of Star Trek 2 without the possibility or a return. I will not demean his death so.
My references to Leonard Nimoy were a man I never really felt I knew and never grew attached to.
While he might be the most famous nerd icon ever (tying with Gary Gygax,) my first reference to El Nimoy were playing “Star Track” with my friend Chris Wright who let me be Captain Kirk the Acrobat (stupid name) so he could be Spock the Vulcan. Nimoy’s influence was so pervasive it affected even those of the second and third degrees of separation like me. I might have been the Captain, but it was clear from Chris’s point of view that Spock was the real star of the show and so Spock was the one in charge above the captain. My dad was an US Air Force captain, and there are lots of ranks above that, so it sounded okay to me. I thought were just enacting one of our stories from the Saturday morning Dungeons and Dragons show.
We spent hours examining rocks and plants and drawing up star charts and I was very much the sidekick. We turned our bikes into spaceships and went on away missions but we had to be back before dark. Chris once made a comment that if we spacemen can actually see the stars, we have to go home. Nimoy inspired wisdom.
I was obviously wrong about how the “Star Track” game worked in many respects, but we had great fun. I never really caught Star Trek on the air because my parents tried to be active, spend time on other’s boats and have dinner parties. They both grew up as WASPs, so that was what was expected him. I went along for the fun, but boating right next to the Johnson Space Center and being from Houston, I often looked up at the stars. I went to school with the children of astronauts. I went to the same school as astronauts. and 4 out of 5 astronauts are inspired by Spock or Star Trek.
There are philosophy texts with Nimoy and Spock’s name in them. They discuss that logic without emotion loses the additional social aspect of society or that logic with emotion risks losing a goal of maximum logical achievement.
Later, while in the U.S. Army like Nimoy, I found an album of Shatner and Nimoy’s greatest hits called Spaced Out. Many of the Shatner Tracks, were off-beat poetic readings of the lyrics set to music. I still terrorize my wife with Shatner’s renditions of Tambourine Man and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds when I want to get a rise out of her. Shatner’s singing was deplorable, so I expected much of the same from Nimoy. I thought it would be more horror from a sci-fi actor trying to sing.
I was wrong. Nimoy’s songs were toneful, with deep emotion in them. “Ruby Don’t Take your Love to Town” was somehow better from Nimoy than the original and left me wanting more. “Gentle on my Mind” and “I Walk the Line” are wonderful renditions…but I found something that tickled me with a smile…”The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.”
I had had a love/hate affair with the Hobbit that eventually won out to a gentle enjoyment when I found this song on the album. I shared this with everybody I could find for four days and everyone just laughed and we all enjoyed ourselves for a little less than a week.
I ran into my fellow soldier, Lyle, who had just gotten a copy of the 30th anniversary Doctor Demento album and …“Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” was on the far side of CD 2. I was angered. Why? It was not Lyle I could blame for he just bought a bunch of silly songs. It was not Doc Demento’s fault for the song had been out for 33 years. It wasn’t Nimoy’s fault as he released it to the masses. But still I internally seethed and simmered. I got over it. It is just a silly song, a very fun one and catchy, and famous according to an Audi 2013 commercial.
But while Nimoy is most famous as Spock , even naming his two autobiographies the paradoxical “I Am Not Spock(1975)” and “I Am Spock(1995)” Even he faced some identity issues in his day to day life with the character and the public’s perception of his persona.
The Greeks say that a life remembered is a life immortal. They say a life spent teaching others is a life well lived. It is said that if a man can die doing what he loves then he never really works at all. Leonard Nimoy is that man. He has done well.
And because I’m one for leaving you with a song in your heart and a tune in your brain This song is how Nimoy’s death makes me feel…Lazy. Like John Lennon’s death, we here at Land of the Nerds just want to stay in bed and pray this terrible event did not happen.