To Boldly Go…

Sometimes you have to applaud something that is essentially silly. Like William Shatner becoming an astronaut at age 90. You probably saw the news stories earlier this month.

Sure it was entirely a publicity stunt for a space tourism company. Sure the money could have been better spent. Certainly it wasn’t great for the environment.

But it seems fitting somehow that Star Trek’s Captain Kirk finally made it into space. He got to boldly go where he had only been before in fiction. Though given the constraints of modern “space travel” he didn’t get to go very far.

I will admit to a certain fondness for the man and his work.True, he’s not the world’s best actor, but he made a nice living at it. Neither is he a great writer, but his science fiction books sold well. He might be the world’s worst singer, but people still bought his albums.

My fondness though is not for his career longevity but is more personal. Bill Shatner went to high school with my mother, so whenever see him on the screen, I think of her.

I don’t think he made much of an imprssion on her. She was a three years older, which meant they probably didn’t socialize. Remember high school? People in the lower grades knew about the people in the upper classes. He might have known who she was, but I doubt the reverse was true.

My aunt, two years younger, probably knew him. Given the way the school was structured, I suppose they might even have had some classes together. Though I don’t remember her ever mentioning him. Still, it is a connection.

I have yet to meet Bill Shatner, and don’t expect to, so I won’t be sking him about my mother and aunt’s high school days. I did meet one member of the Starship Enterprise many years ago.

James Doohan, like Shatner a Canadian, immortalized as “Scotty” on that first Star Trek series, was touring college campuses in the early 1980s with a Star Trek blooper reel. That was back when there was only the one series, I think only the one movie, and no internet. Now anyone can find those clips online. 

Doohan was very personable when he dropped by the radio station I was working at to promote the show. If you are a fan, you know the Scottish accent was for televion only. I think he made a good living with such tours – probably a good thing as I don’t remember him appearing in anything else of consequence during his acting career, not oonce Star Trek ended..

Doohan actually beat Shatner into space by a few years, though not consciously..After he died, his ashes were sent up in a rocket.

Space tourism, as it is now set up, doesn’t interest me in the slighest. Too much money for too short an experience. Perhaps when they start trips to the moon I might be interested. By then though, I think Bill Shatner will have faded into the history books, though his record at being the oldest man to go into space might last for a while.

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