Beam me up, why I love being a nerd

Beam me up, why I love being a nerd

I walked into the room just as Joe turned on a new television show. It looked like some kind of sci-fi fantasy. I sat down to watch. In one scene when humans have passed by a desolate-looking area, an all-clear is given and human-like creatures start coming out of hiding. “Those are the forerunners of the … ” He lost the thought, but I immediately replied, “Hobbits.”

"The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien are like the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" series with undying spin-offs and new characters.

There is nothing better than some good sci-fi. It’s something my parents knew. When I was 9 years old in 1966, I was allowed to stay up past my bedtime to watch the original "Star Trek" series. Those shows gave us hope for the future.

I know the future is going to turn out great because I’ve seen "Star Trek." Joe and I continue to watch the reruns of the original series and pick out some of the complicated social themes we never considered when we were kids.

The television "Star Trek" series began in the future year of 2265. The story line was usually about people and not technology, although their technology was awesome — beam me up. What I really want is a replicator. In the original series, the replicator created food and drinks on demand. What could be better than that?

As kids growing up in this rural area, we didn’t have the opportunity to learn much firsthand about other cultures in the world, but through "Star Trek" we did know about the different cultures of the Vulcans, the Romulans, the Klingons, the Andorians and more.

A later "Star Trek" spin-off introduced the Ferengi (nerd alert — I spelled all the alien names correctly the first time), whose culture is based on turning a profit. They were on the greedy side and always looking for the best deal. They had other bad traits too that made for some interesting shows.

The 1970s was a great time for sci-fi because that is when the "Star Wars" series started. We went to all the movies.

Also in 1977 was “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” This blockbuster was made by director Steven Spielberg and starred Richard Dreyfuss; Teri Garr, who also appeared in an episode of the original "Star Trek;" Melinda Dillon; and a bunch of other people.

In one scary scene, the main characters are driving their car after dark, and an alien space craft hovers over the car and shines a bright light into it. My brain is working hard trying to reach back to 1977, and this information might not be correct. So suffice it to say, a lot of other stuff happens, and by the end of the movie, the humans and the aliens are communicating via musical notes.

The whole thing made you think this is something that could really occur, and you, of course, don’t know you really want to be communicating with aliens, but it could happen.

It was dark when we got out of the movie, and we are cruising home from Canton via I-77 South. The highway wasn’t as busy as it is today, so there wasn’t much traffic out. Joe and I and a few people who went with us are discussing the story line on the way home.

Did I say it was dark? Not the best time to discuss how terrifying it would be to have a UFO hover over your car, which Joe takes as a signal for him to suddenly and without warning turn on the interior lights of the car.

I immediately put it together: An alien space craft is above us right now on I-77, and I screamed at the top of my lungs. Everyone laughed, especially Joe, and I didn’t hear the end of that for quite a while.

And speaking of the end, it took from 1977-2017 when the movie, "The Last Jedi," came out to tell the life story of the Luke Skywalker character on "Star Wars" — 40 years.

There was some closure there, but we must just accept that when it comes to some sci-fi series, we will never live to see the end. It will never end. Just like the Ferengi, movie producers know when they have a good thing going. They are just going to keep developing new stories and new characters and rake in that cash.

And yet there is real-life sci-fi going on too. I can’t wait for the Artemis 1 rocket to launch and start the process of putting man back on the moon. There have been two delays so far, but they will get there. Sci-fi in the real world doesn’t always go as smoothly as in the movies.

So call me a nerd. I don’t care. It’s a title I can embrace. With sci-fi our future is bright.