Going in to college I definitely had a little bit of the nerd thing going on. Mostly concentrated on my love of musical theatre and the bizarre Mighty Ducks fanfiction thing, but extending into the mainstream nerd-fests of Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings, and obviously Batman.
But I was deeply closeted. Like a midwestern Baptist gay kid on a Ryan Murphy show, I was about to discover my true self. Because for the first time in my life I was spending my time around other nerds almost exclusively.
Because generally speaking, “cool kids” don’t attend small liberal arts colleges in North Eastern Pennsylvania and join the choir and student theater group and the yearbook. Do you know who does do those things? Nerds.
But it was mostly because of Jen.
Jen was my freshman year roommate. Jen owned her nerdiness in a way that completely awed me. She didn’t scribble fanfiction in her journal in the middle of the night and hope no one found out. She just laughed when I finally admitted to it and talked about playing Redwall RPG’s. Jen didn’t silently thank the TV powers that be that The West Wing ended our senior year of high school because then she didn’t have to admit to her new college friends that she loved it. No, Jen owned and displayed her West Wing box sets proudly. (Only the first 3 seasons, anything post Sorkin was not worth her time or attention.)
Jen and I sat around late at night talking about C.S. Lewis or Arthur Conan Doyle. We watched Futurama reruns and introduced some of our favorite things to each other. (Jen to Me: Quantum Leap, Me to Jen: Kevin Smith and Orlando.)
Then, one night, we watched a Star Trek marathon on TV Land. I’d never watched Star Trek before. Basically, everything I knew about it was from Futurama. One of the episodes that I clearly remember, was the episode “Mirror, Mirror.” In this episode Captain Kirk travels to an alternate universe where everyone is evil, except Spock, who is Spock with a beard.
I don’t know. It made an impact, because I thought it was pretty stupid but still gave a crap. Also, I understood the premise as it was the same as Bizarro world from Superman. Anyway, with the switch of Good Kirk and Evil Kirk, of course Good Kirk had to have sex with someone, a character that Jen and I still refer to, to this day as “Bizarro Space Whore.” I wasn’t hooked on Star Trek. I still didn’t love the show. It was too slow, too cheesy, I came to it too late in life. But I understood now, I got why people did love it. And I found my own things to love.
When the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie came out, we were both wary. Jen because she loved Star Trek and me because I didn’t, but loved Lost.
We went to go see it multiple times the weekend it came out. We loved it. It had it’s problems, but we loved when Kirk found Old Spock on Hoth (I mean, that other Ice Planet, that was totally not Hoth.) we loved Karl Urban as Bones, we loved Anton Yelchin as Chekov.
With Star Trek: Into Darkness coming out next week I was just thinking about Jen, and how lucky I was to have someone who was so at home with herself and didn’t care if I was just myself. She’s a great friend and I miss her very much.
Live Long and Prosper, Jennifer. I’ll always think of you when I notice a red shirt. And of course I’ll be thinking of you next weekend when I go to see Into Darkness.