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Friday, May 8, 2009

Star Trek Formed My Longtime Friendships


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Today the long awaited Star Trek movie is out and like any nerdy Trekker, I'm excited. I got our tickets 10 days ago and didn't have to stand in line, contrary to what you might think. But the real story here is that on Saturday, May 9th, I'm going to see Star Trek with my long time friends Bill Boyd and Lars Frykman.

This is an Oakland Trekker story in brief.

Bill, Lars, and I met in Oakland in 1976 when we were 14 years old at what was then called Bret Harte Junior High School, now Bret Harte Middle School. I was new to Oakland, having moved with my mom to the city from Chicago as my mom was in search of better schools for me. How times have changed!

The Bret Harte Star Trek Club

I was a big Star Trek fan and wanted to start a club at Bret Harte. I had no clue how to do this, so my friends said "You should talk to Bill Boyd or Lars Frykman!" So I was introduced to Bill, who at 14 had the deepest voice I've ever heard in my life, and has the same voice today! Then there was Lars, who's just unique and uses terms like "GROK" the meaning of which I've forgotten.

At any rate, Bill and Lars are white; I'm black. But in Star Trek, as Doctor McCoy once said, "People are different. You get used to those things." We formed a diverse set of people, all interested in science and led by Craig Pryor who famously worked through all of the problem sets in our calculus book before the end of the semester. But whom I bested in a massive debate on American versus foreign cars - I took American and won!

But we were and to this day are great friends. At Bret Harte in 1976 we made the most money of any club at our carnival taking in $104.76. We did it with a game Craig came up with where you throw a set of "Tribbles" (from the Star Trek episode "Trouble With The Tribbles") our moms made from fur and stuffing at a ping pong ball suspended from the air from a vacuum cleaner.

You laugh.

But Star Trek was the show that brought all of us together and caused us to work conventions in Oakland and have parties and get girlfriends. And it was because Star Trek continues to show a positive view of the future and how we relate to each other.

I can't wait for Bill, Lars, and Craig to see this and I can't wait to see Star Trek, even if the movie messes up the San Francisco Skyline.

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