Sunday, October 8, 2006

Why The Big Sister Likes Star Trek

Basil's post of a similar title brought back fond memories of TV space shows. Basil and I watched lots of TV together, and we did tend to gravitate towards space shows and science fiction programs. For some reason, I recall Star Trek coming on at 5 PM on Fridays. That's not when it was on the schedule, but that's when I remember watching it.

I loved the fact that it was a space show, but I also loved the fact that seemingly insurmountable problems could be solved mostly through logic and rational thought rather than with irrational, emotional outbursts. Since I was a child, and typically didn't pay attention to details, I didn't notice the assorted races on the program. They were just "people". Years later, when I did notice that not everyone was the same race or nationality, and they all got along, I liked Star Trek even more. Yeah, I guess I liked Star Trek because of its vision.

I also liked Star Trek because the Star Trek universe was filled with wondrous gadgets and gizmos galore. I especially liked the typewriter that would type whatever you spoke in the episode, "Assignment: Earth." Forty years ago, I'd have never believed we would actually have many of those gadgets today, and I am grateful that Star Trek stirred the imaginations of kids who made much of the fantasy a reality.

However, the real reason I still love Star Trek today is because of my son.

In 1987 Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted. I liked having a new space show to watch every week. I had sorely missed the original series, and I was skeptical of TNG. I was not prepared to like it, but as the rocky first year went by, the show began to grow on me, and I became especially fond of two characters, Riker and Data. Watching TNG every Saturday evening at 7 PM became a ritual for me, and my son, who was a toddler, would play quietly on the den floor while I watched the show.

Early fall in 1988, my son was about 21 months old. He seldom spoke. Oh, he'd say a word or two every so often, but basically, he just would not talk. I'd taken him to the pediatrician who assured me his delayed speech was not due to an impairment. My husband and I are very verbal, and the doctor surmised that our son was simply listening to us, and he would speak when he was ready. "Yeah, right..." I thought. I knew his hearing was fine. He would come running to the den as soon as he heard the opening audience chant "Wheel of Fortune", and then he'd stand transfixed listening to the opening ritual. So, like I said, I knew he could hear just fine. But he still did not talk.

One morning as I was taking my son to the babysitter's, I pulled up to the stop sign and looked left, right, and left again. My son was sitting in the front passenger seat in the carrier. (That's where babies sat back then.) As I looked again towards the right before pulling out onto the highway, he looked over at me and said, "Payce... de pynall punteer. Deez de boize de starship intepyze." (Space...the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.)

This. .. the opening monologue from Star Trek ... from the child who, to my knowledge, had never spoken a full sentence.

I fell in love all over again with Star Trek.


  1. Wow! What a great story--that little guy just waited to say something worth saying!

    This web site is like "family" but without the negative aspects. The virutal family of Basil--terrific.

  2. Thanks! I've learned over the years that my son listens a lot more than he speaks, and when he does finally speak, he typically has something worthy to say.
    And I am sure my Little Brother (who's 6'3") appreciates your compliment about the family atmosphere here...

  3. I have a question about how the "mean sister" came to be called that? I have a mean sister who can be mean but we try to avoid saying it to her face!

  4. The Little Sister (who's 6'0") suggested that name and Basil [The Little Brother (who's 6'3")] and I heartily concurred. Actually we are all mean, but the rest of us could have ironic/oxymoronic names/heights, so I guess we had to have some creative name for her. I think that being The Mean Sister (who's 5'6") is a bit more interesting than being The Middle Sister (who's 5'6"). She's always been the middle sister of average height, and that's not fun. Besides, she IS mean and is proud of it. Just ask her...or her students.

  5. Now, Big Sis, does your son know the Star Trek joke about Arabs and/or Iranians?

  6. I don't know. He's away at college, and when we see each other, we don't talk about Star Trek. Although he will watch Star Trek, he's not a fan.

    Oh! I guess I was supposed to say that he doesn't know the joke, and I don't either...


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