Farewell, Mister Scott
By Number Six
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 at 03:46 PM
Retired actor and WW2 veteran James Doohan passed beyond the veil this morning. He was 85.Oh, yes, to those of us now approaching retirement age, he was something of a mentor to us geeks coming of age in the 1960's: Scotty of Star Trek.
I can count myself as among those who never would've embraced quantum, mechanics, fluid hydraulics, electronics, and aviation otherwise...without Mister Scott's influence.
To many, of course, Trek was just silly science fiction, and they may be right, there were some cheap FX, a few scripts we could all live without.
But, Star Trek came at a time when we needed to see what may well come to pass, an age and time of Dr. King's dream, a realm where racism, sexism, hate and prejudice have long since disappeared from this planet. Kennedy told us about how to get the ball rolling, Trek showed us what the brochure looked like.
And even during the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo days, being smarter than the other asswipes was not a blessing, more a curse. Geeks are always hated, of course, but like those who clean out septic tanks, we are often needed more than most wish was likely.
To me, Star Trek and Mister Scott said it all: This is what can be done if we put aside the annoying little bullshit, work as one and solve our problems, and from there, do the impossible. Armstrong stepping down from the LM was solid proof of that.
And in an age of Nixon and his reactionary cast of followers, it was a beacon of hope for those tired of Vietnam, phony morality, the love of cash, and that always crying of "GET A HAIRCUT YOU SORRY COMMIE PINKO!"
I remember the outcry: The first ever televised interracial kiss in history. So many gagged. Me? Kiss Nichelle Nichols? For FREE? WHERE DO I SIGN UP????!!!
Funny, I am Mister Scott. That's me now, always running here and there, always chasing down something broken, and usually on long OT, too. Everything's an emergency. Not so, it's called lack of planning, of course. Try explaining to bean counters that simple preventative maintenance is far cheaper than last-second USAirways, true? Well?
So long, Jim. You gave us all so much hope when hope was sorely needed. Say hi to Gene and Dee for me. And say hi to Martin and John, too, as we all shared the dream and still do to this day.
And I learned something that I use to this day: The future does not belong to cowards or regressive types, not to those who embrace a utopia of a past that never, ever existed, but the future belongs to those just crazy enough to dare the impossible, armed with dreams of much, much better days yet to come. The drawback is that such can be very scary and rich with unknown, but honestly, would you want it any other way?
Not me. Not ever. Thanks, Jim. I owe you one.