40 or more years have passed but I can still remember the agony of having to leave my Nanny’s house every day when my mom picked me up after work. It had nothing to do with my mom—it was Captain Kirk’s fault. Star Trek was in syndication by the time I was old enough to watch it and it came on at 5:00PM, just before the local evening news. My mom would arrive every day at around 5:20PM, and my Nanny would have to tear me away from the TV to send me downstairs. It sucked. I don’t think I got to see a full episode of Star Trek until I was 10.
As a fan of science fiction and now, a writer of straightforward “classic” science fiction, I have to admit that Star Trek has influenced me more than any other TV show, movie, or book. Roddenberry’s vision of a hopeful future where mankind has conquered his petty divisions and found adventure among the stars is still the one that inspires me the most. And the character of James Tiberius Kirk—intrepid explorer, rule-breaker, with a lust for life—is simply the best in science fiction.
The character was brought to life and given complexity and depth through the incredible talent of William Shatner. Mr. Shatner’s career and life is a testament to hard work and perseverance tempered with humor and self-deprecation. He is an inspiration.
So Happy Birthday to William Shatner. I hope your 83rd year is the most joyous, rewarding, and memorable. Keep your shields down and your photon torpedoes at the ready, Captain! Mazel Tov!