When I was 10 years old, I was obsessed with Stephen King books and movies, things I was decidedly not allowed to read or watch. (Pro parenting tip – want to build a reader? Tell your kid she can’t read something, your tenacious little one will realize that she can pull the hardback books off the shelves, but leave the dust covers, and read all the inappropriate horror she can get her hands on.) So Stephen King led me to Stand By Me. Which I recorded on VHS from the HBO that I was also not supposed to have access to and watched over and over and over, I thought all the boys were cute and they were just a smidge older than me, meaning they were totally fair game. But not even a dashing young River Pheonix could hold a candle to my Wil Wheaton.
I devoured every bit of information about him I could get my hands on, this was pre-internet so I had to resort to tiger beat and bits gleaned from my friends who were equally obsessed. He was smart and an actor like me, surely one day when my big break came I would meet him and we would be Hollywood’s new teen power couple.
“He’s in a TV show!” My main partner in crime gleefully exclaimed at school before first bell. No need to clarify the He – there was only room for one boy in my heart and that boy was Wil. “WHAT WHAT WHAT IS IT TELL ME EVERYTHING!!!!”
I rushed to the TV guide as soon as I got home – star trek star trek star AHA! There! And it comes on afterschool?? EVERYDAY?!?!
With only vague memories of being traumatized by that fraking earwig thing in Khan at 7, I didn’t really know what I was in for, but I knew my Wil wouldn’t steer me wrong. And as hard as I fell for Wil, I fell for Trek harder, down the deep dark squishy rabbit hole of love that is all things Trek and Trek fandom. Growing up in the deep south it was hard to envision a future of no racism or poverty, but there it was. Every day after school, the shining hope that Star Trek offered – that humanity could be, can be, MUST be better, was planted in deep in my soul.
All for the love of Crusher.