Otwo Attempts… Being a Trekkie

In this Attempts, Conor Luke Barry tries his hand at top level nerdery by becoming a Trekkie

I’ve always found it surprising that I’ve never been a fan of Star Trek. Back in my more impressionable days, my pale and brittle physique combined with my crippling social anxieties made me the perfect candidate for their stereotypical demographic.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve met tons of people who are either painfully ashamed or obnoxiously proud to have been raised by Star Trek.

I felt it was finally time to give it a fair chance, and there was no better place than the hot ticket in London town, the Star Trek convention. I couldn’t bring myself to dress up in all the Star Trek garb, lest I caught sight of my reflection and was forced to beat myself up. Rocking my civilian clothes, I made my way into the convention centre, and walked through the huge shutter doors into another world.

By another world I mean one that’s pretty much the same as our own, except you can buy tons of Star Trek merchandise. Clearly this was the event that some these people had been waiting for all year, potentially their entire lifetime. One such man had clearly been saving his pennies for this day, producing a wad of rolled up fifties from his fanny pack.

The place was massive, hundreds if not thousands of overexcited men and women scuttling around from stall to stall, buying everything from those little badges that the people wear on the show to some other stuff that was probably also from the show. One of the more interesting features was a replica of the set of one of the series Starships where you could get your photo taken, allowing you to sit in the captain’s chair and briefly imagine you’re employed. Another draw was the huge amounts of cast members that you could get autographs from and take pictures with, such as everyone’s favourite character, that lizard guy that William Shatner fights briefly in one episode.

After aimlessly wandering for a while, I was drawn towards what seemed to be the centre of the event, taking my place at the back of the huge gathering of people waiting to get autographs. There must be some sort of crossover between Star Trek fans and those who actively enjoy queuing because I’ve never seen a group of people more ecstatic to be waiting in a line for at least half of their day. It was reminiscent of the hideous queues of Disneyland but instead of getting to ride Space Mountain at the end you get to pay a man to sign a picture of his own face. But these weren’t just any men, so I was told. These were ‘The Captains’, who it turns out are the equivalent of multiple reincarnations of Christ, if Christ charged £30 for an autograph.

It seems this was the big draw of the convention. It was the first time that all five of the Captains from the various series were gathered together in the history of ever. Well, in Europe. But it was still quite an exciting event, if you’re into that sort of thing, which (if you’ve been following) I wasn’t. Having said that, regardless of how Star Trek illiterate I may be, even I recognised the bald, proud head of a stylishly dressed Patrick Stewart. Though I was dismissive of these guys idolising a group of actors two seconds previously, seeing Stewart in the flesh brought on the urge to trade in my dignity for the chance to have this bald headed demigod briefly acknowledge my existence.

After waiting for 17 hours, clutching a little picture of a smiling Captain Picard, I was finally near the top of the line. I couldn’t help but imagine how our interaction would go down. Perhaps he would look me in the eyes, call for his posse and point at me saying “This is the man”, before kneeling before me and bestowing upon me my very own phaser. Then I would be crowned the new Captain, given my very own Starship, and be led to the convention stage. I would become this nerd convention’s new Messiah; I would be the one signing little pictures of my face. With trepidation I approached his throne to accept my glorious new role. He said hello, signed my piece of paper and I was swiftly hustled along. I didn’t even get a phaser.

After this crushing disappointment, I felt I’d had enough of living this lie. The Star Trek way of life just wasn’t for me and, in some ways, that made me envious of these fanatics. I don’t even like loved ones as much as they adore Spock. These people like Star Trek as much as I like circulating my blood flow. They were in their Mecca, away from the cruel judgement of the real world that labels them “nerds” or “geeks” or “people who have failed to grow up and are clinging on to their youth by purchasing material goods”. Maybe these people had it right all along. For what is life but finding something that makes you happy, something that makes each day a little easier? Or maybe they should all stop being such little nerds and go out and get laid (*high fives self*).