Leonard Nimoy died yesterday and with him went a little piece of my childhood.
I was in elementary school when Star Trek premiered. It captured my imagination immediately. I remember wondering whether we would encounter alien races when we went to the moon. I was fascinated by the idea of traveling across galaxies.
My friends and I would gather around the television set each week to watch the new episode. Then we spent the rest of the week reenacting it. We created our own phasers from our parents' cigarette packages and fashioned communicator badges out of cardboard. Our bicycles doubled as space cruisers, and we made whooshing sounds as we went through doorways.
Spock was the most fascinating character to me. I practiced raising my eyebrow in the same way he did. I remember taping my fingers together until I was able to make the Vulcan greeting. I can still do it to this day - on both hands, no tape required.
Watching Star Trek kindled a curiosity in me and awakened my love of science fiction. Always an avid reader, I now had a new genre to explore. Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, Lloyd Alexander, Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, J.R.R. Tolkein, Kurt Vonnegut - I read them all.
I was a proud nerd before it was cool to be a nerd. And I owe it all to Star Trek and Mr. Spock.