Sunday 25 Sep 2016

Meant to Be
AJ Robinson

Certain events must be a certain way. When I was in college, a film-buff friend of mine said there were certain movies that you just had to see, at the movie theatre. This was in the early days of the VCR and people were starting to watch movies, at home, with the device. This was what caused such consternations among the film purists I knew.

As far as film purists were concerned, a VCR was an abomination. No, you could not watch something like “The Ten Commandments” or “North by Northwest” on a teeny-tiny television screen. Tape quality was also horrible.

In some cases, I agreed with them. Yet, I had to admit, I sure enjoyed being able to see “The Wizard of Oz” every year, at home. Convenience is nice.

Then, quite by chance, I learned of another thing you must see, in just a certain way, and it was only a television show. Actually, I suppose I’ve just committed an act of high heresy by calling it “only.” You see, the show I’m referring to is “Star Trek.”

Yeah, some would call “Star Trek” much more than only a television show. As a kid, I watched the old series. I loved many of the episodes.

One day, while in Atlanta, attending Georgia Tech, I saw a poster advertising a presentation of an episode of the series, “The Trouble with Tribbles.” The local chapter of the official Star Trek Fan Club was showing it. I figured what the hay; why not go see it? After all, I had nothing better to do.

I went to the student union building, to the theater. I have to say, seeing the show on the big screen was cool. Yet, what was even cooler was the “audience participation” part of the gathering. As Kirk began to speak the opening monologue, people in the audience joined in. I thought, wow, this is getting interesting. Was this going to be like the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” where people stand up, talk to the screen and act out the film as it runs?

No, they didn’t do that. However, when Nilz Baris, the fellow in charge of getting the grain to Sherman’s Planet, came on screen, people booed. When his assistant, Arne Darvin, the Klingon spy, appeared on screen, the audience boo so loudly, it was deafening.

The kicker was when the Klingon insulted the Enterprise in front of Scotty. The cries of, “Get ‘im, Scotty,” echoed throughout the theatre. When Scotty punched the Klingon, I couldn’t hear another sound for the next five minutes: the cheering was just too loud.

Everyone had a fun time. The blooper reel at the end was the icing on the cake. It was then I realized there are certain things in life you can’t experience, on your own. No, such events must be shared, as the experienced is heightened exponentially by the presence of each additional person. Even something as simple as watching an old low-tech sci-fi television show, from the 1960s, is all the more enjoyable when shared.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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