I’m a geek…it says so right there on the name of the website.
I’m not even embarrassed about it. There was a time in my life that I felt kind of bad that I wasn’t like the other boys my age. I didn’t like sports. I wasn’t into hunting or fishing. I didn’t have a big ol’ truck.
But those days have passed me by. I’m at an age now that I like the things that I like. If I don’t measure up to what you think a man should be then you can look elsewhere.
I wasn’t always like that.
I’ve posted many, many blog installments about my childhood. I was a fat kid. I dealt with a lot of bullying. My days were usually spent dodging insults. If they had been dodge balls then I’d be the worst player ever…because every one of them hit me.
When I was in my early teens I found this TV show that I kind of clicked with. It had been on for a couple of years but I had not been watching faithfully. Then, sitting in my house with nothing to watch I settled on it to see what it was about.
It was called Star Trek: The Next Generation.
I didn’t know if I wanted anything to do with it at first. I had never seen an episode of the original TV show. The only exposure that I’d had to Star Trek at that point was Star Trek III: The Search For Spock which had aired as the movie of the week one night, and a handful of episode so The Animated Series that air come on Nickelodeon a few times.
But this looked different. The captain was an old man. The ship looked kind of funny. There was a man with weird bumps all over his head. The guy from Reading Rainbow was there and he was wearing some funky-looking sunglasses.
But I watched it. I have no idea at this point what episode it was that I was watching, but I liked it enough to know that I wanted to watch it again the next week. After a few weeks I was hooked. I watched it every time it came on…which I quickly learned was every day. My mother was not as thrilled about that news as I was.
Before long I was a bonafide Trekkie. I spent all of my high school years absolutely in love with that show. I had the t-shirt and everything. I think that every novel that I read for at least two years was a Star Trek novel. I even remember a teacher telling me that I was too wrapped up in it and needed to concentrate on other things.
But what no one understood is that it was much more than a TV show for me. It was my escape. For one hour every night I knew that I could leave the struggles that I went through every day. I could go and visit my friends in the 24th century. I could go on an adventure with them and I didn’t have to worry about what had gone through that day or what was going to happen the next day. I visited with my friends and I was always accepted.
I can’t say for certain that Star Trek: The Next Generation saved my life. I don’t remember having any suicidal thoughts but I was a pretty depressed guy. I do know that it saved my sanity. It gave me an outlet in my life when I needed it.
And it started the rebirth of a franchise that has brought me so much joy over the last 30 years. Even this week as I sat down and watched the newest incarnation, Star Trek: Discovery, I was reminded of that feeling I had watching TNG as a teenager. It was like wrapping up in a warm blanket.
Today, Star Trek: The Next Generation turns 30 years old. Here’s to 30 more!