There are a lot of ways in our culture to be a nerd. (Or geek, or whatever.) You can be a video game nerd, a computer nerd, a science-fiction nerd, a fantasy nerd.
Terminator, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon Five, Stargate... The possibilities are endless.
But before there was Joss Whedon or George Lucas, there was a man named Gene Roddenberry.
And before any of those other wonderful nerdly things appeared, Gene created this....
Star Trek, the original series, ran for only a few seasons in the late 60s. I wasn't even born until 1980, and yet Star Trek was part of the fabric of my childhood.
A few examples...
-- When I was in elementary school, we were allowed to watch one hour of TV in the afternoon. It was always Star Trek reruns. They were fun and uncomplicated and entertaining. Plus, they were on right after school, so it gave me a good excuse not to do my homework. :-)
-- When Star Trek, the Next Generation aired, we turned it into a weekly family night. One of my clearest memories is sitting eating popcorn with my family, watching the season finale where Captain Picard is turned into a Borg. We freaked out. (And then had to wait all summer to find out what happened, of course. Argh.)
-- Sometime in high school, I discovered my dad's collection of Star Trek novels, and proceeded to steal them one by one. I can remember scenes and plot twists from those books even today. In fact, I read several Star Trek books last year and they were still pretty good.
-- We went to a lot of the newer Star Trek movies as a family, starting with The Undiscovered Country. And though we weren't as into Deep Space Nine and Voyager as much, we watched those too.
Now, I've never been to a convention. I've never met any of these actors, and if you asked me to lay out the floor plan of the Enterprise, I'll draw a blank. I can't even remember the name of the green-skinned alien race that makes an appearance in the new movie, except that they're not Andorians because Andorians are blue.
But I do know this:
Star Trek shaped my life as much as any movie or television show I've ever watched. And sitting in the movie theater, watching the new movie, was like being given back a part of my childhood completely fresh, with the opportunity to make all those memories again.
I think Gene would approve.