Ten Lessons I Learned from “Star Trek”

During my formative years I watched a lot of “Star Trek.” Almost every day I would enjoy the adventures of Captain Kirk and his crew as they explored strange new worlds, sought out new life and new civilizations, and boldly went where no man had gone before. I learned many lessons from “Star Trek.” Here are a few:

1. Romance makes people’s vision go blurry. Whether literal or a metaphor, this is absolutely true. When it comes to romance people just don’t see clearly. The minute those pheromones get going everything goes info a soft focus blur of smoochy-woochy idealism.

2. Spay and neuter your pets. Disaster can come in a cute and fuzzy little package. This is good advice on planet Earth, too, where clueless parents get more than one hamster for their kids and put them in the same cage without a second glance under their short little tails.

3. Under promise and over-deliver. Though there is no doubt that Scotty was a stellar engineer (pun intended), his reputation as a miracle-worker was born as much from his ability to exaggerate the time it would take to make a repair as from his engineering genius.

4. Mind your own business. There is no greater expression of this than the prime directive. Whether an entire society worships a cave shaped like a snake or your best girlfriend is getting back together with her loser ex, don’t interfere.

5. When someone is pissed at you it’s probably your fault. The Horta taught us this lesson. She went around attacking miners and red shirts alike and everyone thought she was pure evil. In fact, the humans she’d killed had massacred her babies. It’s completely understandable that she’d react that way.

6. Racism is stupid. It doesn’t matter what color of the rainbow you are, or whether you even have a body, everyone has value. This is no more plain than the crew’s consternation at the racism expressed between Lokai and Bele. The distinction between skin colors and the prejudice attached to those colors is arbitrary, ridiculous, and hopelessly backward. “So what if you’re white on the left side of your face and he’s white on the right? You’re both acting crazy!”

7. Obsession isn’t healthy. As if Herman Melville didn’t already try to teach us this, “Star Trek” really drove the point home in “The Doomsday Machine.” Decker was willing to destroy the Enterprise and everyone aboard if it meant stopping that evil cone of fiery doom.

8. When the test you’re facing is unfair, cheat. I’ve got two words for you: Kobayashi Maru.

9. When you are hopelessly outmatched, you may as well bluff. When Kirk and the crew are confronted with an immensely powerful ship from which there was no escape, their last and finally successful effort was convincing the enemy that they were about to detonate an incredibly powerful bomb that would destroy the entire sector. Despite the alien’s superior technology, this worked. They earned his respect and all enjoyed a nice glass of “tranya” together afterward.

10. There is fascination everywhere. For all of his lack of emotion, Spock is an optimist. He can find interest in the most common of events. The universe is full of exciting observations.

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