Way back in April, John Scalzi wrote on his blog:
Arrangements have been made. Wheels set into motion.
At this point, it is inevitable. Unavoidable.
Implacable would not be too strong a word.
What has begun?
I cannot tell you.
Suffice to say it is evil. And yet awesome, in its way.
And it will be visited upon one of you.
Cryptic, but amusing. I know John well enough to know that he's a devilish schemer with a wicked sense of humor. What, I wondered, was he up to, and who, I pondered, was the unsuspecting victim?
Months passed, and then - on my birthday, no less - he wrote:
Finally. It is done.
And it will be visited upon one of you.
You should prepare yourself.
Although nothing can truly prepare you.
Because it is evil. Yet awesome.
And it is coming.
It can be held back no longer.
And when it arrives, you will know.
And you will tremble before it.
BWA HA HA HA HA HAH HA!
I had no idea, in April or in July, that I was the intended recipient victim of John's evil, yet awesome scheme.
But more on that in a moment, because some context is in order before we get to the punchline.
I had big plans to road trip up to Vegas with two of my friends and visit Star Trek the Experience one last time before they sent it to the land of wind and ghosts. Unfortunately, gravity and physics had other plans, and I'm not doing much of anything until PAX.
If you've spent any time reading my blog, or if you've read my first two books, you know that The Experience is very special to me, delivering some important perspective when I needed it most:
Until this moment, all I have been able to remember is the pain that came with Star Trek. I'd forgotten the joy.
Star Trek was about sitting next to Brent Spiner, who always made me laugh. It wasn't about the people who made me cry when they booed me offstage at conventions. It was about the awe I felt listening to Patrick Stewart debate the subtle nuances of The Prime Directive with Gene Roddenberry between scenes. It wasn't about the writers who couldn't figure out how to write a believable teenage character. It was about the wonder of walking down those corridors, and pretending that I was on a real spaceship. It was about the pride I felt when I got to wear my first real uniform, go on my first away mission, fire my first phaser, play poker with the other officers in Riker's quarters.
Oh my god. Star Trek was wonderful, and I'd forgotten. I have wasted ten years trying to escape something that I love, for all the wrong reasons.
I was looking forward to this road trip, because love Star Trek, and I love science fiction, but when I hurt myself, my motivation to play through the pain evaporated. See, I've been feeling some Star Trek fatigue recently. There are a lot of factors, including being dooced from the Vegas con and the return of the alt.wesley.die.die.die morons, but the bottom line is: I feel like all the stuff I didn't like about Trek has started to overwhelm the things I love about it. I haven't written a TNG review for TV Squad in months, because it hasn't been as fun to revisit those first season days as it once was.
The thing is . . . maybe I'm taking the whole thing a little too seriously. I mean, honestly, why in the world should I give a shit about some random Internet guy who is obviously stuck in 1990? Sure, it's upsetting that I was the only series regular to be excluded from the biggest Star Trek convention of the year, but it's not like I don't have other things to do with my time, and other conventions to attend.
A tangible reminder to not take this stuff too seriously arrived at my doorstep recently. It was, as promised, evil and awesome:
For those of you who are scratching your heads right now, that is, in fact, an authentic black velvet Wesley Crusher painting. It was sent anonymously, and all of my friends (truthfully, it turns out) said they had nothing to do with it (I guess I should have asked John's co-conspirator, our mutual friend Burns! if he was involved) so I didn't say anything publicly about it while I attempted to uncover the identity of my mysterious benefactor.
This morning, I sent John an e-mail with some of the awesome comments on yesterday's post about Zoe's Tale. In the ensuing conversation, he outed himself as the evil genius behind this particular artistic scheme.
For the last few months, I've been focused on the pain that came with Star Trek. I'd forgotten the joy.
Star Trek isn't about petty grudges or anonymous insults from emotionally stunted people who are stuck in 1990. It is something I did twenty years ago, that inspired a generation of kids to pursue science and engineering. Star Trek is a fantastically entertaining show, even when it's really, really awful, and I can feel proud of being part of it, without letting it define the beginning and end of my creative life.
Without knowing that I needed a reminder not to take this stuff so seriously, without knowing - in April, when the wheels were set into motion - that around the beginning of August I'd be feeling pretty lousy about getting cut from the show I look forward to attending every year, John did what good friends do: pick you up when you're down, and provide reality checks when you need them the most.
Star Trek is something that I shouldn't take as seriously as I've taken it lately. I'd given idiots way too much control over how I felt about it, and how I felt about that part of my life where Star Trek and me intersect. I'd lost perspective, and it took a velvet Wesley Crusher to bring it back.
It hangs behind me in my office now, evil and awesome, a reminder to remember the joy, and not take things so damn seriously.