YOU WANT IT YOU GOT IT!
Because only one reader was gracious enough to send in his input, and because this idea is hilarious, his wish has been granted and here it is…
Hey there all you sci-fi aficionados! This weeks’ (alright months’, back off) self help guide is designed to make you the hardest of hardcore trekkies. So obsessed will you be after studying this, that NOT ONLY will Gene Roddenberry will shudder at the thought of your attending another convention, but you will ALSO be able to tell everyone you know who Gene Roddenberry is, like they care.
My parents (especially father) have been in love with Star Trek since its inception in, I believe, the 1970’s. My father has been watching it for as long as I can remember. The newer versions he finds more distasteful but there was a long stretch [my entire childhood] when i can remember him watching whatever version of Star Trek was running at that given period of time. I was never that big into science fiction. I was never that big into science in general. My sister liked some of it for the same reasons as my dad i suppose. I know you don’t have to be a bio, chem, or physics major to like Star Trek (in fact I’m sure it defies all those three disciplines on a routine basis), and I’m sure a lot of their fan base wasn’t, but something about it really excited my dad. I remember watching a few episodes just to give it a tryout every once in a while, but I never took to it like he did. Still, I can remember a few bits and pieces. Unfortunately that means most of this post is gonna have to be researched, based in fact and hearsay, and not the vague, smoky haze that is my memory and personal experience. Actually, it is not so much that I care that information is correct, but because I can’t remember terminology. In any event, you can count on me to have a very shaky base of knowledge on the subject, as I saw a few episodes a decade ago or so, but other than that you’ll see that I looked up words and made up whatever I wanted after that.
Due to the potentially self-destructive nature of this post, a more serious disclaimer is certainly necessary.
DISCLAIMER: Mr. Thursday (specifically Paul, if you wanna haul off any of the other writers be my guest) is not responsible for any acts of interstellar warfare, terrorism, or make-up malfunctions that occur while you’re prancing around looking like a freak of nature. It is further denied that Mr. Thursday has ever actually taken any of his own advice on this matter, and any anecdotes or analogies to real life are purely fabricated for the purposes of being informative to you, our reader(s).
Mr. Thursday denies the existence of Vulcans, Klingons, Changlings, Cardassians, Ferengis, Warp Drives, Pon Farr, sexy green aliens, or phasers. However, Mr. Thursday can totally get on board with William Shatner being James T. Kirk (Leonard Nemoy isn’t half bad either). On the subject, Mr. Thursday is very curious about Area 51, the Men in Black, UFO’s, folding space to travel very far in very short periods of time, quantum mechanics, and most most most of all, Mr. Thursday is dying to know why every single alien race is humanoid, why isn’t there a race of intelligent creatures shaped like dogs, or even just 4-legged (MIB aside, we’re talking the Trek here, after all).
Mr. Thursday wholeheartedly admits to having to look up all sorts of data for this post, as he isn’t quite as versed in the realm of Star Trek as one writing such things might be expected to be, but assures you that his research is as sound as Google searches allow and his advice will be grounded in good, solid, cold, hard facts, cyncism, and a general disdain for nerd, birthed from a subconscious fear of their hyper-gallactic intelligence.
After the break, the process.
1. GET BEATEN UP AS A KID
There’s nothing to drive an impressionable mind into the realm of fantasy-in-space like some good, old-fashioned, middle school bullying. get pantsed, lost your lunch money, be picked last in schoolyard football. Get called nerd, geek, loser, four-eyes (glasses optional, but recommended), metal mouth (ditto for braces). It’s important to try to stand up to the chief bully (there’s always a chief bully) at least once, and get your ass handed to you for doing so. Nothing will sever reality from fiction quicker than a good vs. evil battle where good gets whomped. Now, before you try to reason with me and tell me that this is ludicrous and that surely I cannot think this as my father was a devout Star Trek fan, and surely I wouldn’t say that he was a pathetic beaten up looser in grade school…just stop. Go back to the beginning of the post, and re-read.
This isn’t a post on how to get into Star Trek, this isn’t even a post on how to enlist in Starfleet Command, this is a guide to becoming one of those hardcore, insane, deranged, dressed up men/women who go to every convention in full costume so much so that they probably resemble their character more than the original actor does at this point. These people have true mental schisms, they assume these character’s identities. This is apt to happen in real life after certain emotional of psychological traumas also. This post, however, deals with some of the looniest of the lot. If you just enjoy the show from time to time, this manual has nothing for you. But, if you wanna be the most hardcore Trekkie on the bridge, you need serious, deep, mental instability resulting from an entire childhood of rejection and abuse.
2. POTATO CHIPS
It’s no secret Trekkies love their make-up. Why is that?…We all wonder. I have figured out the answer. Lots of people go to conventions of all sorts, dressed up mildly as the characters they admire or aspire to emulate, but even if characters on these shows are heavily made-up, very few hardcore fans go to the extreme trouble, the hours of preparation, the intricate complexities of 47 different kinds of facepaint required to look EXACTLY like the character. But Star Trek fans do. I propose that this is for a two reasons. 1) Star Trek has longevity. It has been around long enough to create an insanely devoted fan base. And it led with Shatner, brilliant and lucky move. Most other shows haven’t been around 30+ years, and thus, the insanity that builds over time hasn’t matured to the level Star Trek fans have achieved.
In fact, I’d venture to say that even the more popular sci-fi shows rarely last more than 5-6 years, the X-files being maybe the only other exception that I know of, and I really can’t claim to have any idea how long that lasted. Back to my thoughtline…2) bad skin. Star Trek fans spend so much time watching Star Trek (there’s 30+ years worth, they could really spend 24/7 watching this show and the spinoff’s if they wanted*) they stay in their basement, eating potato chips, watching Star Trek. This results in bad skin. Since the only place a Trekkie that’s THIS hardcore is going to meet a potential spouse is at a convention where he/she can meet others who are that excited about Star Trek also, it is monumentally important that the trekkie look their best. Potato chips (and other greasy foods) have been linked to bad skin. Bad skin = no spouse. Make-up = deliverance. It all makes sense now, doesn’t it? Eat lots of potato chips, and spend your hard earned computer programming money on make-up of any sort you can get your hands on.
*Editor’s note: It would take roughly 3 weeks and 3 days to watch every episode of Star Trek (Original, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and the Animated Series) back to back, without interruption or repeat.
3. PROGRAM COMPUTERS
I’ll admit it, I have no idea why this is the case. Trekkies are good with computers. Maybe it is because the computers on the Enterprise are so advanced and Trekkies have found a way to catch up their computers to the Enterprise’s, or maybe they enjoy the fact that programming computers can be done in the dark. I won’t claim knowledge on this. I will, however, say that there is a curious relationship between computer saavyness and Star Trek loyalists.
4. TALK THE TALK
The language is important. Every self-help guide more or less tells you that it’s SO important to talk like whatever it is you’re trying to become. This is no different. It’s more than just saying “affirmative” or “make it so” or “I cahhhhn’t Captain! We dunnah have the powahhhhh!”
You need to be able to insert little snippets into your daily life, enough so that people recognize them, but not to the extent that you’ll get fired for using them. If your boss wants you to prepare some TPS reports, instead of just saying “affirmative”, you should try something like “I’ll get that back to you at warp 2, sir” then wink and chuckle. Make it an awkward chuckle, this tells your boss that you recognize that you’re socially awkward, which you are, and that you’re harmless. He doesn’t need to fear that you’re going to go through a complete mental breakdown and phaser everyone in the office.
You can’t be too heavy on it though. If someone makes reference to breaking the law, leave it at breaking the law, don’t say it violates the mandates of Starfleet Command or anything like that, that’s creepy. You can say “live long, and prosper” but no more than twice a day, and not the same person more than once a month. EVERYONE knows it, and people will get annoyed with you if you use it too much.v You want to be harmless, not feared. Okay, think of it like this. You want to be a mouse instead of a cockroach. There are some people who are gonna freak out about a mouse in their house (there are some people who you will freak out by virtue of you being you), but some people are seemingly nonchelant about it, or even passively accepting of it. They know mice are not normal to have, but they’re not enough of a concern to warrant any real action to rid the place of it. That is your goal. Cockroaches on the other hand, always elicit the same response “Ew! get rid of that thing immediately! and set up traps to kill his friends!” You want to avoid that at all costs.
Why would you dress up as anyone else? If you’re male, you should get a James T. Kirk uniform and nothing else. Who embodies AWESOME like Kirk, maybe you’ll score a date with some cutie who dressed up as the green alien Kirk shags, probably the best chance you have to get laid out of the red light district.
6. KNOWLEDGE/PREP WORK
It stands to reason that if you’re interested in dressing up like an alien and going to these conventions, then the only opinions you care about are other people at these conventions, because they’re the only people who aren’t slightly disconcerted at your actions. Not that everyone is gonna look down on you for doing what you do, I do not, the rest of the Mr. Thursday staff certainly isn’t in a position to judge. However, I find it odd. Society finds it odd, quirky, even a little obsessive, if that can be believed. But you don’t care what mainstream society says, do you? You only care about what other trekkies think. And to convince them that you’re the real deal you’ve gotta stump then at the one thing they know, Star Trek trivia…
It’s near impossible to be even in the top 10% of Star Trek know-it-alls, but this is your charge. Read every article, every interesting fact, every inconsistency, every stage goof, memorize episode titles, when they were aired, know every cast member and every character, and about a zillion other things. You have to amass so much knowledge about alien races, Star Fleet officers, the production crew, the directors, the spin-offs, what the old actors are doing now, etc. ad nauseaum. Basically, if Patrick Stewart farted during a take, you better know who got the first whiff. It’s a lot of information for your mind to accept. But you’ve gotta do it, and you can’t afford to slip up.
You don’t wanna be known as the guy who forgot the name of the alien Michael Dorn [Edit. Note: Who??] killed in the Next Generation, Season-4-Episode-7, on the moon of Romulax V [Edit. Note: Where??]. You’ll never live it down. Trekkies, like elephants, never forget. Being the new guy, people will go after you at first, trying to establish their dominance by preying on the weak. You’ve gotta be ready for them. Don’t go to your first convention till you’re absolutely sure that you’re ready. Don’t be surprised if you need to wait 5-6 years till you feel comfortable. Once you get there, don’t go for the big fish immediately, warm up with some arrogant trekkie bullies first. After they’ve bowed to your knowledge you can casually challenge the revered Trekkie leaders to a Trek-off.
If you don’t wanna wait 5-6 years you can always cheat. Get a buddy with like 6 monitors and a super fast processor (this will probably be anyone you work with, since you’re probably a computer programmer), with 3 screens open to google, and the other 3 to various star trek trivia sights. Have a tiny microphone in your collar and an earpiece. Just like in Old School, a movie you’ve never seen, because it had nothing to do with space travel.
Now you’re ready. Follow these steps, the first one may require time travel, but I’m sure if you watch enough Star Trek, you’ll find an episode where they use time travel to solve an impossible problem, then conveniently forget how to do it the next time any sort of impossible problem comes. Anyway, follow my instructions and you will grow wise in the way of the warp drive. Spend a lot more time researching the earlier Trek’s as they’re universally considered to be better. Less special effects, more story, more plot, more cheese, more fun. Good luck, you’re now well on your way to being just slightly above a leper.
I’ll see you next time. Till then, whatever I wrote, whenever I wrote it, it goes.