'Star Trek' obsession has Dad ready to jump starship

features@islandpacket.comOctober 21, 2013 

Is this your favorite interpretation of the USS Enterprise? There are so many good ones ...

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My dad and 9-year-old are downstairs right now watching the first of the new "Star Trek" movies, the one that came out in 2009 and is cleverly titled "Star Trek." I'm making that point because it's going to get hairy with the titles here in a minute.

We watched the second of the new "Star Trek" movies, "Into Darkness," last night. That's the one that was released this spring and contains Evil and Pale British Khan, and at the end they eradicate 85 percent of San Francisco and -- you'd think a bigger deal would be made of this -- stumble upon a way to CURE HUMAN DEATH, yet neither development really causes any of the characters to look up from their phones much. Seriously, if this plotline keeps up, the next sequel will contain very little tension, as apparently if you're a corpse in a "Star Trek" movie, all you have to do is sip a little snifter of Khan-blood and you'll be popping out of your space-casket like a little formerly deceased Whac-A-Mole. (Oh, sorry: SPOILER ALERT.)

The new "Star Trek" movies are not to be confused with the old "Star Trek" movies or the "Star Trek" TV show or GOD FORBID "The Next Generation" or whatever the hell "Voyager" was. It's just that, as my Netflix will attest, there's been a notable rise in the amount of "Star Trek" content available to your television machine screen since I last was aware of "Star Trek" in like 1988 (also the last year I was aware of professional wrestling and Tone Loc). If you're reading this right now, if you can see these words, please do me what the kids call "a solid" (because kids use perfectly useful words incorrectly) and do not let your kids get into "Star Trek" because you will spend hours having to explain which iteration of "Star Trek" is which to them, and then, of course, naturally, there will be the various social problems.

But there's a separate issue developing. My son becomes obsessed with detail, the sort of detail that eludes the casual viewer, and by "eludes" I mean "bores the pants off of." He's been known to spend the better part of a road trip expounding on the stylistic differences of various years of Honda Odyssey minivans, because I have the only budding car kid in town who is less into speed and danger than he is fiscal sensibility and good Consumer Reports ratings.

So when I say "watch 'Star Trek,'" I mean mostly that we discuss which Enterprise goes with which show, and what kind of windows go on each Enterprise, and how big each of those Enterprises are, and how many Enterprises from the old show we think could fit into the Enterprise from the new movies, and at this point I basically resolve to get him into dodgeball or youth boxing. Or professional wrestling! Do they still have that?

He discusses it all: the Enterprise's engines, which Enterprise is our favorite (uh, the round one?) and what warp factor we're currently traveling at on our couch (it's not very fast, as it's a pretty old couch). We discuss this all during the movie, by the way, because, and I'm not sure I mentioned this above, but my son was tragically born without the portion of his brain that controls the closing of the mouth during a movie. It's an affliction suffered by 100 percent of 9-year-olds, as well as 65 percent of the people at your neighborhood movie theater at ANY GIVEN TIME.

Anyway, all this attention to minor details in regards to science fiction movies, and the need to compulsively categorize and organize them, and the not being able to shut up during movies means only one thing: I am raising myself at age 9, albeit a version of myself with a functional knowledge of who William Shatner is.

Jeff Vrabel was the WWF Intercontinental Champion from 1986 to 1988. Follow him at twitter.com/JeffVrabel and read more at www.jeffvrabel.com.

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