Tall and Straight

Life throws you curveballs making you scramble to figure out how to handle them. Do you catch them or evade them?

In the middle of personal tumult, you reach for what or who is handy to give you comfort. It could be a person you are close to, your spouse, your child, your sister, brother, cousin.

Sometimes, when the hurt is too deep, or when it’s too difficult to relate to anyone or for anyone to relate to, we might find comfort and solace in an artistic rendering. In an artist whose beautiful artwork lets you melt into the scene they painted and allows you to leave the pain or the heartache behind. If only for that moment.

Sometimes it’s a book whose author has written in such a way that it swallows you whole, so completely that you forget the here and now. A book that you can touch and hold and smell its papery scent. A book whose spine sits tall and straight on a bookshelf waiting for you, as an example of how you should stand up to adversity, tall and straight.

Sometimes it’s a film, or a TV show that allows you that escape, that makes you laugh or even more movingly, makes you cry, and therefore forget your own pain. You reach for that helping of relief time and again. You buy the movie, or watch all the reruns that you can, taking a breather from what hurts.

And sometimes it’s an actor’s portrayal of a character that reaches out and escorts you into their world. That grabs your consciousness and never lets go. Years, decades pass and that character stays the same, always there, bringing you a dollop of delight, dependable in their sameness. The world around you might twist and tilt threatening to jettison you without warning, but this character, this story, affords you a reprieve. It may only be for a little while, but it doesn’t matter because you know you can visit with them again.

One such presence for me was Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek.  He was always so stoic. So rational. So logical. He was a bastion upon which Captain Kirk could hang his hat, a solid presence who would always be there for him no matter how much trouble he got himself into. He could violate the Prime Directive knowing that Spock would back him up or help him face the repercussions. He could flirt with all the women of the galaxies knowing that Spock was there to take command just in case he ended up tying knots that could not then be unraveled. Spock was his unfaltering second in all that he did.

I loved Captain Kirk, but I revered Mr. Spock. He stood like a book, tall and straight. He carried planets’ worth of strength and knowledge on his slim shoulders. He was resourceful and unerring, mostly. And when necessary, he knew how to bend so that he would never break. I wanted a friend like him, but most of all, I wanted to be like him.

I know there’s a new Spock now, but there will always be only one Spock for me.

Rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy.

Live long and prosper, Mr. Spock.

 

***I had the ultimate pleasure of hearing Leonard Nimoy speak at my daughter’s college graduation. Today, I was sorry to hear that he had died.

 

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