To find passion and meaning in something is a wonderful thing as it can bring people together in unexpected ways. Our Star Trek and Me series continues with Jack who talks about how his love for the franchise helped guide him, create long lasting friends and a strong moral footing.
There are several mysteries in this world. But I can shed light upon one: why I’m an adult who not only absolutely loves the Star Trek franchise but has done so longer than he can remember and has no plans to change that anytime soon.
In mid-1999, I was sat in a Secondary School’s reception area. It was miles away from my home, so to say I wasn’t in the Catchment Area is an understatement. During the student interview with the School’s Deputy Head I noticed she had multiple Star Trek related things in his office, like framed Star Trek film posters, a large Worf figure and a Federation desk organiser. Suddenly I found myself in an in depth conversation about why Captain Janeway is simply the best Captain (this was mere days before DS9 ended with Captain Sisko becoming a literal God, if the interview was just 4 days later, I’d have seen ‘What You Leave Behind’ and the conversation could have gone a different way and I may have never gotten into my Secondary School and subsequent 6th form). Incidentally, this Deputy Headteacher would also be a huge influence on me for decades to come.
Not only was I accepted quite late into a School which was oversubscribed, but she would also be my history teacher the next year. Flash forward from 1999 to 2015, I got my master’s degree in History. I’m not sure what a great tribute to her would be, but I hope a Trekkie with a Trek tattoo and extremely advanced knowledge of the subject she taught would be a fitting one. When I found out she had tragically passed, I decided to fire up my Netflix and watch Star Trek: Voyagers ‘Dark Frontier’ and ’11:59’ as I had often thought the sheer endless strength she projected reminded me of Kathryn Janeway and I’d hope these would be appropriate.
Seven years after school began, I moved 209 miles to the city of York. My entry into my university was in no small part to the aforementioned school. I made long lasting friendships there through mutual loves of Star Trek and one indelibly great memory was of one night where I returned to York after several weeks away in London, I spent it with a friend watching Star Trek. Where not only was did we watch the film ‘First Contact’ our mutual favourite, but we speculated on what various onscreen markings actually meant.
In my early 20s, I decided to get my first tattoo. I’ve seen countless examples that a first one needs to be incredibly personal. It didn’t exactly take a great deductive leap to decide it should be the symbol of the franchise I’d not only admired since before I can remember. So naturally I decided to have the symbol of Starfleet permanently etched onto my skin. The franchise had United me with strangers and made them lifelong friends and instilled in me the creed of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Diversity which seems to be the foundation of my individual morality. So, when the artist was about to start inking the design, he ask where it’s from and I explained ‘from Star Trek’, he told me he’d never heard of it.
I’ve got no problem with people not wanting to see Star Trek at all, but as has been briefly said above, I think Trek has had an incredibly profound effect upon me and this effect has been a lifelong one. The artist and I were similar ages and in the 1990s, Trek was on 4 times a week and that’s just on BBC 2 and not counting Sky One at all. So it did come as a surprise that he hadn’t heard of the show.
Ah well, IDIC.
In short: to me Trek means virtually everything to me. On a personal note, it has been around almost all of my life, a shared love of the show helped me into a top rated school when it should have been impossible for me to join, helped establish and maintain long lasting friendships (all of which I treasure) – including one which is nearly a decade old and while we live a few countries apart, the mighty Trek unites us. I’d have a hard time naming anything outside of my family responsible for such an effect.