Live long and prosper!

When I was in high school, girls my age used to fawn over and have posters of and crushes on rock stars and sportsmen. I must have had some  “norm-chip” missing, as the only two men I was fascinated by – heck, even related to – were two fictional characters: Mr. Spock and Sherlock Holmes.  To use a cheesy movie phrase – Spock had “had me” at “It’s logical, Captain,” and Holmes about whom I’ve written (or rather gushed) about in an earlier post – had had me at “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts,and of course, much more.

So, it gives me great pleasure, and in a sense, a form of therapeutic closure that characters for which I was teased about for having crushes on back in school (and college) have now proven to be timeless icons of intelligence, poise and “cool.” Why is it that in life, those who were considered “uncool” for not following any trend, nor buckling to any peer-pressure or fashion-du-jour find out years later that they had just been ahead of their times in their individualism, and years later when more prominent figures reveal that they too liked trend-buckling oddballs – it is considered “cool?”

Why is it so important to be “cool?” Really, who cares? In fact the people who are really cool are those who never cared about trying so hard to be “cool” in the first place but the guts to face the snickering for not being afraid to like what they themselves could relate to – not what everyone was following. Also, trying to make a great show of going completely in the opposite direction of trend-following, and thereby joining anti-establishment groups – is quite simply following something else in the opposite direction – so that’s not being too different either. The true individualist doesn’t really care too much about being popular nor unpopular and that’s what makes them different, without even trying. There is freedom is just being. Being you. Knowing yourself. 

Some people wrongly assume that loving or possessing a Vulcan sense of Logic or stoicism must mean that Emotion is alien to such possessors. I do not understand why there is such an either/or approach. Having a logical and analytical mind does not mean that that person is devoid of deep, indescribable emotional magnitude. In some, the Apollonian and the Dionysian does not come at the expense of the other. It is best described in the words of Spock’s father Sarek when he explains to his young half-human half-Vulcan son the basis of their calm self-assuredness on the surface while a wide spectrum of emotional depth churns underneath. (For some reason when I watched that scene in the 2009 reboot movie, it made me cry. For some reason I could relate too well.) Sarek’s words to a very young Spock: “Emotions run deep within our race. In many ways, more deeply than in Humans. Logic offers a serenity Humans seldom experience. The control of feelings, so that they do not control you.”

Anyway – on the eve of the release of Into Darkness, a photo of me and Jack Black – who is doing his own version of Spock’s hand sign. Both of Black’s parents were satellite engineers who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope. This was during a spontaneous moment after which Jack and I did a silly Star Wars laser hand-fight but with Spocky hands.

Live long and prosper, those who loved/love Spock – especially the few girls who were open about it and thereby faced ridicule for making choices which were  different than those of their peers…..

Actor/comedian/musician Jack Black & yours truly, bonding in geeky, Spock salutes

Actor/comedian/musician Jack Black & yours truly, bonding in geeky Vulcan salutes (click to enlarge)

Actor/comedian/musician Jack Black & me doing geeky, Spock signs

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The new May 2013 Audi commercial featuring both the old and new Spocks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPkByAkAdZs

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Star Trek fan President Obama flashes the Spock sign:  http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/star-trek-fan-president-obama-picture-nichelle-nichols-vulcan-hand-gesture-article-1.1055970

Aaah….therapeutic indeed after those early years of being teased for being the oddball girl in school who loved Mr. Spock and Sherlock Holmes…….and who still thinks they are timelessly awesome.

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Here’s one more – moi and Scott Ian from Anthrax (Thanks, Alex Skolnick)

Scott Ian (Anthrax) and the Gipsy Geek backstage

Scott Ian (Anthrax) and me both making our respective ‘signs’ (Thanks Alex Skolnick for taking this!)

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6 thoughts on “Live long and prosper!

  1. i point out to my kids that the “cool” kids, who don’t study, usually end up working at McDonald’s, or worse. and that their lives are essentially over at 29. a bad thing if you now expect to live to 130.

    • You are a very wise father.
      And quite right.

      Being the usual definition of “cool” a.k.a popular for being just trendy/life-of-the-party or a follower of the “latest fads” doesn’t usually translate into success or self-assurance in the future. It’s surprising how often we see that the so-called “cool” kids back in school are now nobodies, while the shy or nerdy or introverted or just wise and focussed ones instead made something of their lives – whether creatively, or otherwise; or at most just are leading lives of contentment and adventure and seem to know themselves much more than the past-“cool” and currently-confused grown-ups who used to be all “cool” in school.

  2. I could never do the Spock hands. I didn’t have a crush on Spock particulary but I’m a total Sci Fi nut (I wanted to marry Batman when I was 5). I think the idea of the Vulcan mind meld is so cool. I would meld my mind with my daughter before I die and she would know what a nut her mother truly was! :)

  3. Cool? I guess your schoolday peers used the word to mean attractive or desireable. The origin being that those most attractive and desireable don’t need to try, and so appear ‘cool’. But you knew that (“those who never cared about trying so hard” ;o) Why important to be ‘cool’? Because in a society it’s important to be accepted, dangerous to be rejected. Most want and need to be in the herd. Except for those with a bit more courage… they set the next trends…

    • True, John.
      In my school though “cool” meant following the latest fads, fashions, consumer-trends, the sportsman or music-band-du-jour. I was considered attractive but since I studied only in all-girls’ schools, thankfully I didn’t have to face the boy-girl dynamics in high school :) But yes, was teased a lot for having “nerdy” tastes. btw – Totally hooked on BBC’s Sherlock. My favorite version since Jeremy Brett’s. College was a different story – didn’t help that I rode a motorbike and became an avid mountain-climber, instead of becoming a party-girl – but by then I was quite ok knowing that I’d never quite “fit in”.

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