It was one of those trees that if you got to the highest spot first, you staked that position as your own and no one could top it because there was simply no place higher – so of course all the kids scampered up the tree and raced for that position – I made it, though, but then I’d called the let’s-get-up-the-tree challenge while already halfway up the main trunk (well, some of those younger kids could climb like monkeys and you had to think quick to stay ahead of them – and I had a plan).
With much screaming and scrambling, the gang of 8 to 11 year-olds, about eight of us, made it into the leafy heights, me leading the way. As I had climbed higher up the tree than anybody else, I loudly proclaimed that I was Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise and, in true Star Trek fashion, we could boldly go where no tree had gone before.
I was delighted when no one argued with me for possession of the Captain Kirk role – and then I found out why. Forget Scottie or Bones or anyone else, the entire mob of them wanted to be Spock. I chuckled as they fought it out amongst themselves – I never wanted to be Spock, even though he was depicted as alien, super smart and with some great scenes where Bones would clash with him over his inability to see a joke. But something was definitely wrong with his lack of humor.
Back in that day, the idea seemed to be that an advanced civilization would automatically be mirthless, as though humor was somehow faulty and should be done away with. I suppose they wanted to portray the alien aspect of Spock, something aside from his pointy ears that set him apart from mere humans. It seemed a pet theme, though, not just in Star Trek, that aliens or people of the future were always merciless and devoid of humor.
What writers and movies-makers missed in those days was that playfulness and humor are not wasted or leftover emotions, but indicators of intelligence. It’s only intelligent animals that play. While I did not know that, either, back then, I did feel that lacking a sense of fun wasn’t right. So, even then I craved accuracy in stories and films.
I was very pleased that no one wanted to be Kirk. After ten minutes of bickering, the other kids settled down to be an assortment of Spocks while I plotted out the adventure before us.
Boldly – what else? – I set a course for Alpha Centauri while my crew of Spocks strutted contentedly amongst the lower brances practicing their individual Spockiness. Every call down to Spock, though, triggered instant pandemonium as each one assumed a response and determined in different direction. Fortunately, the tree was planted and remained under my control.
I didn’t care about how many Spocks I had. I was up my tree, looking at the sky and dreaming of spaceships and distant worlds. I’m sure one or two characters who would later pal up with me gave me a wave. Mind you, I’m glad I hadn’t thought up Sevi then, or I might have fallen out of my tree.
Have a great day, everyone. May you have a Spock-free evening – or, if you’re a fan, may the Spocks be with you.
Allyson (Captain James T.)