A Geek Girl’s Leonard Nimoy


Martha @ Athena's Head
"Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner" (1968)

“Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner” (1968)

The passing of Leonard Nimoy last Friday got me thinking, as the death of a well-loved celebrity so often does. I recently published “Mr. Spock Was My First Crush” on Talking Writing. Here’s an excerpt:

I’m a longtime Star Trek fan, going back to high school in the 1970s, when I watched the original series in reruns every weekday night. Nimoy created a character—the resident alien of the Starship Enterprise crew, never at home with himself, always battling the human emotions his logical Vulcan half is not supposed to feel—who firmly resides in this geek girl’s interior. His struggle wasn’t just romantically appealing; it spoke to my own internal divisions at the time, including my desire not to be constrained by gender conventions.

It’s no accident that Spock resembles my own father when he was young; tall, dark, austerely handsome. My dad, very close in age to Nimoy, passed away a little over a year ago. A sensitive man, he kept his feelings under wraps and wrote poetry toward the end of his life—as did Nimoy in his later years. In 1967, when Nimoy told the Boston Globe his Vulcan alter ego was “a pretty groovy guy,” he could have been describing my father: “[Spock is] very compassionate, intelligent, curious, logical.”

You don’t need a Freudian link to a Spockish daddy, however, to be drawn to this kind of guy. For bookish white girls, in particular, this was and is catnip; Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes is just a current variation.

Click here to read the full article.

I’m a Klutz, Mr. Spock, Not a Bricklayer


And the Weirdest Accident Goes to…

I sprained my ankle two nights ago. Now I remove the ace bandage at the end of the day, hoping for miracles.

Pain…terrible pain!

I’m a klutz. I have been for as long as I can remember—certainly since I walked smack into a “No Parking” sign when I was ten years old.

I’ve sprained my ankle several times before and more spectacularly. A year ago, I pulled out ligaments in my knee while dancing with my young son toof all things—”Disco Inferno.”

The kindest interpretation is that I’m an active, fun-loving, gonzo risk-taker. The truth is more nuanced and mysterious. Because of my latest sprain, and because I also banged up the other leg while slipping on ice last week—I feel driven to pose the following questions:

  1. Are some people more accident-prone than others?
  2. Once you’ve had a silly accident, does whining about it help?
  3. Does it provide a secret release from the duties of normal life?
  4. What’s the weirdest accident you can think of?

Pain…terrible pain is from one of my favorite Star Trek episodes, “The Devil in the Dark,”* which involves creatures called the Horta. These lava monsters make tunnels in the rock on a mining planet, working in tandem with the humans running the operation. All is well, until they start attacking people. Kirk and Spock and the red shirts come down to the planet to figure out what’s going on.

Mr. Spock mind-melds with a horta. He lays his hands on this pulsing hunk of magma and goes into a trance, wincing, grimacing.

“Pain…terrible pain!” he shouts, channeling the horta’s feelings. Continue reading