As we get older, death becomes a more familiar companion. Certainly not a welcome one, but familiar all the same.
I didn’t come to Star Trek early in life, mostly because where I grew up we only had one television station and Star Trek wasn’t on it. There was no such thing as VHS back then, so if it wasn’t on the tube, it pretty much didn’t exist.
My first exposure to the show came in 1979 when I went to university. The TV lounge in our dorm had cable, and Star Trek ran every weekday at noon or thereabouts. We had lunch the moment the dining room opened at 11:30 and dashed up to our floor to watch the latest episode. I bought the James Blish novelizations and read them all. I went to see Gene Rodenberry when he came to the Student Union Building (a fact that I had forgotten until I recently stumbled across the ticket stub while sorting through old papers). I saw Star Trek: The Motion Picture on opening night.
Not long after I moved to Texas in the late 1980s, I heard about a Star Trek convention in downtown Houston, some 40 miles away. I considered myself a hardcore fan by that point. Then I stood in the registration line between two guys in costume who held an intense debate about what Spock had been up to between the first two movies. They had evidence. If their conversation had been written down, there would have been footnotes. I felt waaaay out of their league. I enjoyed the convention, though I was a bit miffed when I realized that most of the vendors there had no interest in Star Trek at all. They were just out to make a buck, selling photocopies of photocopies of scripts and badly produced fan fiction. I got to meet Jimmy Doohan and Marina Sirtis, so there’s that!
I was thrilled to see Leonard Nimoy as the villain of the week on Columbo, playing a doctor who killed a rival physician using dissolving stitches. And, all these years later, I’ve been following him on Twitter where, among other things of interest, he talked about his battle with COPD and how stupid it was of him to smoke.
He was taken to hospital last week after collapsing at home. His final tweet from a few days ago read, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP”
Today, his grandson posted the following on his Twitter feed:
Hi all, as you all know, my Grandpa passed away this morning at 8:40 from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was an extraordinary man, husband, grandfather, brother, actor, author-the list goes on- and friend. Thank you for the warm condolences. May you all LLAP. – Dani
P.s. I will be putting special shirts up on our site, SHOPLLAP.com , where all of the proceeds will go to the COPD Foundation. I hope to hear from you all.