Beam me up, Scotty. Me and my chair.
I am not now, nor will I likely ever be, A Star Trek fan.
For many years, in fact, I would suffer a temporary confusion between Star Trek and Star Wars, similar to the brief lapse I would have in introductory accounting when I struggled with the difference between a debit and a credit.
I overcame both struggles - I got an A in accounting, and I no longer even have to think about what's Wars and what's Trek:
Star Wars: Luke Skywalker, Jedi, R2D2, George Lucas (or is it Steven Spielberg), and a ka-billion dollars worth of special effects.
Star Trek: Mr. Spock, Klingons, funny pajama uniforms, Gene Rodenberry, and about $200 spent on sets for the original TV show.
Now that I've straightened things out, I will note there's something more cultish about Star Trek. And, perhaps because of this, something sweeter.
It's that sweetness that appealed to me when I saw an article in The New York Times last week on people who lovingly create their own replicas of Captain Kirk's command chair from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Which, of course, they sit in while wearing the uniform that looks like funny pajamas.
One of those profiled, Scott Veazie, was not even alive when the original Star Trek series was on in the 1960's. Still, he managed to become a big fan, and built himself a captain's chair, which is a focal point of his living room.
“When someone comes in, it’s the first thing they comment on,” Mr. Veazie is quoted as saying.
I'm sure that's quite true.
While purists may elect to roll their own versions of the chair - using blueprints and supply kits available on the Web - you can also get an off-the-shelf version.
Diamond Select Toys of Timonium, Maryland - a place name with a nicely sci-fi ring to it, no? (Timonium, not Maryland) - is offering a limited edition version of the captain's chair for a little over $2700:
With the sci-fi status and geek grandeur of Captain Kirk's command chair in your collection you can boldly go where no fan has gone before! This full size recreation of the U.S.S. Enterprise's Captain's Chair delivers all the accents and details from the historic prop along with modern lighting and sound effects and phrases designed to thrill any Star Trek enthusiast! The working swivel design accentuates the two-piece construction, making this the perfect addition to any collection, display or museum! Limited to 1,701 pieces worldwide.
Please note this item requires unique shipping details to arrange delivery.
The purists, I'm sure, wouldn't go for those modern updates. The original, and still the greatest, didn't spout any phrases that I'm aware of.
Still, there's the lure of the "unique shipping". Does it come in a UPS van designed to look like the Enterprise. Do the delivery men wear funny pajama uniforms? Is the chair beamed up?
Whether Trekkies are spending hours building their own, or just going ahead and springing for the ready-to-wear edition, as hobbies go, being a Star Trek fan seems pretty harmless.
Sure, it can be obsessional, but it's not porn. Sure, it can be costly, but it's not gambling. Sure, it may be a little weird, but it's not Second Life.
And it's probably safer than blogging, where you can really attract some nutters in the comment zone.