Saturday, February 28, 2015

Live Long and Prosper

As a nerd and Bostonian, I guess I can't help but post my thoughts on the passing of a great man, Leonard Nimoy.  The thing is, while he was my favorite character on Star Trek (followed by Sulu, Scotty and Checkov - something about those odd ethnic men), my real thoughts start with his artistic eye.

It feels like a million years ago (but is really around a decade or so back), we went out to Amherst to look at schools with the kids.  I really wanted to check out a little art gallery in the area called Michelson galleries as they had a series of photos by Nimoy called "Maximum Beauty," which was the beginning of his Whole Body Project, challenging how we view beauty and bodies.

There was a small collection of photos and I spent a lot of time talking the gallery owner, Rich Michelson, about how he convinced his friend to start to display and collect the photos into a book one day.  Over the years as I would go out to visit the Eric Carle Museum, I would often spend time at Michelson Galleries for a variety of reasons often related to events or artists found at the Carle.  One time, my son and I drove out to check out the series of Shekinah photos Nimoy did, looking at our Creator in a feminine form.  The black and white photos are incredibly moving.  Sometimes she is fully concealed from view by a filmy scarf.  Sometimes she is fully revealed in her nude form and sometimes she's a bit of both; a true reflection of how I feel about my Creator and myself.

I kept thinking I should pick up a signed copy of the book and never got around to it.  I'm sure Rich will sell out today, if he didn't yesterday.  I will pick up an unsigned copy eventually, the photos are rich and moving and a level of beauty that will always bring me back to spending the better part of an hour just standing in front of the totally concealed image thinking about life, the universe and everything.

The other thing I will always associate with Nimoy, even though he had little to nothing to do with it, was the "Mr. Spock Gun."  The Rayline Tracer Gun was an awesome toy as a kid and not because of the Star Trek connection, even if that's what sold it.  It was awesome because the tracer disks were the same size and thickness as a dime.  So if you really wanted to get into an epic Mr. Spock gun war, you loaded that sucker up with dimes and did some damage!

The toy was pulled from the market and redesigned so it wouldn't take pocket change anymore and just rereleased as a tracer gun.  In college, all the members of the Cryptic Citadel, our insanely fun nerd household in college, had our own Mr. Spock guns (there was no other name for them really) and personalized them.  You didn't go ANYWHERE in the apartment without one by your side because you never knew when someone would yell, "INCOMING," and you'd get pelted.

Not surprisingly it took maybe 10 years and half a dozen moves before I stopped finding the little disks in places I never expected - my Norton anthologies, art supplies, you name it.  Those suckers were everywhere and I kind of miss finding them.

Leonard Nimoy offered me a lifetime of joy and deep thought.  I admit that a few years ago I had an idea for a story about Jews in baseball about an upper middle class kid in Brookline or Newton without a lot of grounding bonding with a (great)grandfather over Kevin Youkilis and Hank Greenberg.  It would look at the old West End and the journey of the immigrant in this country.  I had Nimoy in mind as the (great)grandfather helping this child understand the concept of having roots, not just wings.

Shortly after the "Lazy Day" video came out, so did the news of the COPD diagnosis.  I remember thinking every day he was with us would be a gift.  It was, and I wish it could have lasted longer.

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