Years later, when IMDB posted news of a new Star Trek film in 2008, my dad did something uncharacteristic: He called me at school to tell me about it. It was the second time in memory that my father initiated the conversation - usually Mom would do most of the talking while he listened in the background, yelling his input from across the room. But to him, this was an Emergency Situation worthy of a special call.
That November I received another special call, this time from my father's nurse at the hospital. We arrived in time to be with my dad as he passed away due to unforeseen complications from the cancer he'd fought for over a year.
At his funeral, I realized how different my father and I really were. His friends were all lawyers, judges and members of law enforcement, solemnly dressed in dark suits and dress uniforms. I was in a bright-blue polka-dot dress with a shaven head in honor of my father. We may have been entirely different people - my dad, a serious criminal lawyer, and me, a wannabe writer/actress/poet - but we had a whole universe in common.
For my dad and I, watching Star Trek was never a passive experience. Instead, it became an outlet for our creativity. We imagined what went on after Spock saved the whales in Star Trek: The Voyage Home and drew pictures of what we'd want our space ship to have in it. I learned to change my oil and my tires playing "Geordi and Data" with my dad - which was the only way he was able to work on the car when I was around. We even took side roads on the way to the grocery store to fulfill our stated purpose to "boldly go." My imagination grew with every new adventure - and so did my relationship with my father.
Our love of Star Trek was far from obsessive, but it seemed that for my father and me, Star Trek found its way into special moments. Every year on my birthday, my dad took me out for pancakes and pie at Village Inn. We would perform the entire "Which glass has the poison?" scene from The Princess Bride from memory and then spend the rest of the day watching Star Trek with our own Mystery Science Theatre 3000-style commentary, complete with Chinese take-out and thrown popcorn that we would hastily clean up mere minutes before mom could discover it.