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Porque Soy Un Trekkie, Part 1 04.02.2010

Posted by Commodore Mendez in Star Trek.
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Yes, the great debate rages on: You got your white Vulcans. You got your black Vulcans. So why no Puerto Rican Vulcans?

My name is Commodore Mendez and I am a Latino Trekkie. And I am not alone!

Note to Hollywood producers: Just because Hispanic characters are extremely rare in the franchise does not mean I cannot be enamored of it. Believe me, I enjoy the little half-assed pandering you do do (Captain Castillo indeed!).

But I wasn’t always a Hispanic Trekkie. Un Trekkie. Un Trekkason. I grew up in Brooklyn too young to watch TOS when it originally aired on NBC. But in 1972 I was just the right age when it came on in syndication, five days a week at six o’clock on WPIX. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy glowed in black and white in our living room. I watched them often as I ate my deeply fried pork chops, deeply fried fried chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, and other very Americanized dinner selections. (Yes, but they were all flavored with Sazón.)

I ate always ate dinner in front of the TV, my third and favorite parent. (Don’t worry, mom and dad don’t have web access.) Coming home from school, I did my homework immediately, not to be studious, but to be able to watch without a single impediment.

“Did you do your homework?” mother screamed.

“Yes,” I mumbled, entranced by the gray worlds pulsing in front of me.

So I saw Kirk, Spock, and McCoy more than I did any uncles, aunts, or cousins, most of whom lived in faraway lands called Chicago and Ponce. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy became, like so many TV characters to so many TV watchers, family. Better than family, in fact, because they didn’t come over without calling and drink the last of your Yoo-hoo.

But even after watching them for years like that, I still would not have called myself a Trekkie.

When The Motion Picture came out, I didn’t even see it in theaters. Well, that might have been because I had no money to go by myself, and there was no friggin’ way my brother was going to take me to see Star Blechh. (Though he did take me to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, for which I am ever grateful.)

But then Wrath of Khan came out just as I finished high school. In fact, if memory serves, I went with my friends Phil Lee, Henry Yee, and Frank Kugler to see it in theaters. There was something about that movie, and something about seeing those family members again, that brought me closer to being a Trekkie. I still wasn’t there yet. That would take a few more movies. And some bad TV spinoffs.

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