Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end

Publicity photo of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy on the set of the original Star Trek series.

Publicity photo of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy on the set of the original Star Trek series.

There are a lot of thoughts and emotions bouncing around in my head since learning that Leonard Nimoy—who portrayed the logical yet humane Spock on the original Star Trek series, the enigmatic and sometimes villainous William Bell on Fringe, and many, many roles in between—passed away on Friday. Before I was able to compose something that made sense of my feelings to post, my beloved husband wrote on twitter:

RIP @TheRealNimoy you showed us how to become whole people even when we felt like we were a mix of random parts.

Or, as writer and Manga Editor Stacy King put it:

Spock was the “it gets better” symbol for 70s nerd kids: a brilliant alien caught between cultures who still managed to find home & friends.

Some people say that we’re conflating a character with the actor that played him. Yes, Gene Roddenberry should get the credit for creating Spock—and when the network executives wanting to dump the “guy with the ears” after seeing the first pilot, for fighting fiercely to keep the half-alien/half-human character on the show. Similarly, credit is due to all of the writers who wrote him (especially Dorothy Fontana). But while characters in movies, television shows, and plays are the product of the creative work of writers, directors, costume designers, or so on, you can’t completely dismiss the contribution of the person who spoke those lines, wore the costume, and actually played the part.

Nimoy could communicate volumes in a cocked eyebrow or the tilt of his head. He’s the one who made us believe that this character that was a hybrid of a cold, emotionless alien and a much less logical human was a real person.

It doesn’t hurt that the man himself seemed quite likable. Whether he was playing Sherlock Holmes on stage, recording some truly awful music, directing movies, voicing parodies of himself in various animated (and not) shows, or being interviewed about any of his work, he always seemed to be having a good time. He took his craft quite seriously, but didn’t seem to take himself too seriously.

If George Takei is everyone’s favorite gay uncle, Nimoy became every nerd’s favorite grandpa. One of my friends retweeted one of Nimoy’s tweets from 2013 where he said that anyone who wanted him to be their honorary grandfather, should consider it done.

When he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which may have been the result of his smoking in his younger days, he started campaigning against smoking, by posting statements like: “I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! Live Long and Prosper.”

Given his age and the illness, I thought I was prepared for this news. But I wasn’t. By the time I heard the news last week that he was hospitalized, he had already been released and gone home. I heaved a sigh of relief. He even posted to twitter afterward, so everything must be okay, right?

In retrospect, when you read the tweet, it’s obvious he knew. I guess I just wanted to be in denial. I know I cry easily, but I didn’t expect it to hit me quite like this.

I just posted the text of his final tweet yesterday, but it’s a good thought, and worth re-reading:

“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. [Live Long And Prosper]”

Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. I publish an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live in Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

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