Saturday, February 28, 2015

Live Long and Prosper

Live long and prosper.

A Vulcan goodbye, live long is not the amount of time endured between birth and death but making the most of that time, to truly live for as long a time as you are given. And prosper was not about mere monetary gain but an accumulation of more important things, knowledge, insight, wisdom, it's these gifts which mark us as truly prosperous.

If anyone truly lived the mantra of "live long and prosper", it was Leonard Nimoy

It's been a day and it's still hard to fathom that he is no longer amongst the living. 

The announcement Friday that Leonard Nimoy had passed away at the age 83 came as a shock to me and a lot of people. Even if you're weren't a Star Trek fan, chances are you knew who Mr. Spock was. I would be hard pressed to name another TV character who became so ingrained in pop culture as Mr. Spock. Which is kind of weird when one considers Spock's time on TV was just three years. Yet cancellation did not kill Star Trek and by extension, it did not kill Mr. Spock. Spock and the Enterprise crew lived on in cartoons, comic books and novels. 

Early on this ubiquitous presence of Mr. Spock on the cultural landscape was a burden for Leonard Nimoy. He wrote a book called I Am Not Spock to put some distance between Leonard Nimoy, actor, and Mr. Spock of the planet Vulcan. 

Perhaps Nimoy's return to the role of Spock for the Star Trek movies may have played a role in his acceptance of being forever linked to Spock. It was not the daily grind of making episodic TV and Leonard Nimoy began to really explore what made Spock tick. 

The story goes that Nimoy agreed to come back as Mr. Spock for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn only if Mr. Spock died at the end. Later at the wrap party, Leonard Nimoy announced he couldn't wait to get back to work on the next Star Trek movie. 

Oh boy. 

So Spock came back and thank goodness because Leonard Nimoy seemed more comfortable inside Spock's skin as Spock himself became for comfortable with being a man of two worlds, Vulcan and Earth. 

Leonard Nimoy wrote another book, this the title was I Am Spock. It was not a grim resignation to carry the burden of being Spock but an acceptance born of wisdom and good humor. Nimoy would have fun at his own expense, blurring the lines between actor and character such as Leonard Nimoy's animated appearances on The Simpsons

I know I'm babbling a lot about Spock and Leonard Nimoy was so much more than the character he played. But it was in Spock that I found an almost kindred spirit. Like most people, I discovered Star Trek years after it was cancelled by NBC and the same 79 episodes continued to play on a moebius strip of endless syndication. Spock was a man of two worlds but not fully belonging to either. When I was a young boy, I felt a similar alienation from those around me. I didn't quite fit in. 

As I've gotten older, I've become a bit less concerned about fitting in with the worlds of others and more focused on finding my own way. Mr. Spock seemed to come to a similar conclusion; being part human was part of who he was and it would be illogical to deny that. 

Leonard Nimoy seemed to find similar wisdom. I think after Star Trek was cancelled, Nimoy probably thought he had to run from Spock or else be dragged down by him. Then Nimoy found another way, not to run away from Spock but run with him. 

To Leonard Nimoy, a fond farewell as you enter into the next great unknown adventure that awaits beyond this world. 

Be good to one another... and live long and prosper.

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, 
but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015

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