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Farewell, My Fascinating Friend

March 14, 2015

I’ve had to wait to write this post, because the wounds are still fresh, and I know that it is disconnected, and rambles and doesn’t do my thoughts justice. It seems silly, in a way, to be so moved by the death of an actor, but the influence of Leonard Nimoy on my life is second only to that of his incredible portrayal of Mr. Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series. It sounds odd to me to have to give those references, but I understand that there are two or three people out there who aren’t familiar with the man or his work, so there it is. Now, you’re informed.

I grew up with Nimoy, or more correctly, Mr. Spock, and he shaped my earliest thoughts on life, the universe, and everything (nod to Mr. Douglas.) What do you say when you’ve lost a life-long, childhood friend? How can any eulogy be sufficient?

My youth was spent alone; totally alone. My sister, five years older, was always off with a different generation doing her “thing.” We lived on a farm at the far end of the school district and out where there was little opportunity to be around other kids. That area is called Raccoon Valley and used to be called Possum Holler. My nearest neighbor was a bull, so when I say that I grew up alone, it’s not an exaggeration. My favorite toy was a Frisbee because it would come back when I threw it. That’s pretty close to playing catch. Right?

I spent most of my time in the woods with Mr. Burroughs’ Mangani and Bolgani. I had a knife and a rope, and Tarzan was my name. There were moments of Barsoom bliss, but I was mostly ruled by the stories of the White Ape. This was the wonderful world I inhabited until The USS Enterprise arrived on ABC to take me from the jungles of coastal Africa “to boldly go where no man had gone before,” split infinitive aside. A pointy-eared, green-blooded voice of reason grabbed my imagination and held on until this day. Those same woods that had housed adventures of the ape-man were transformed into an alien landscape, and a cardboard box Tricorder became my constant companion. Oh, I kept the knife because, well . . . Gorn!

Unfortunately, I grew up, but so did Spock, and I enjoyed his maturing character – more grim while learning to embrace his human emotions without giving them control. That was a valuable lesson for someone who deals with anger issues. I would become so angry that I wouldn’t remember what happened – dangerously angry. I learned to mask my emotions, and that became a necessary life skill that allowed me to function in the world of humans. It was a simple mathematical formula: hiding emotion = survival.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at age fifty, and it crushed me. Due to other triggers like some PTSD from years in the fire department, the Bipolar has become a true battle for survival. In a way, it almost makes sense that I would struggle with a mental issue that orbits around a duality because I grew up with a best friend who was half Vulcan and half Human. He was torn between two worlds – emotion and reason. Sounds familiar. I guess we had more in common than even I realized.

I would like to say more, but I have to wrap this up because the people in Starbucks, where I’m writing, are beginning to notice my tears. “Captain. Not in front of the Klingons.”

LLAP among the star-stuff, old friend.

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From → Bits of Me

3 Comments
  1. gailpayne56@gmail permalink

    Beautifully written, Daryl. I know what you mean about the alone part. Hard to be in a world of people but always on the outside. Love you

  2. I knew his loss would be hard for you. I didn’t realize how much. Oddly I resonate with the lonely aspect as well. A better eulogy could not be said. Love ya Uncle D.

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