Thursday, July 21, 2005
But Scotty, Who'll Fix the Warp Engines?
We've lost one more member of pop culture. James Doohan, better known as the character he played, Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery Scott has gone on to the "Final Frontier".
I make no secret of my affinity for the Star Trek mythology. I was raised on it. I've been enchanted by it. Gene Roddenberry's vision of what could be summoned the best of humanity's capacity at a time when the world was falling apart.
We need more dreams and visions of what we can become. Lord knows, we're way too good at telling each other how we're all going to hell in a handbasket.
While most folks think that the Enterprise was Cpt. Kirk's ship, make no mistake about it, she belonged to her Chief Engineer. There had to be someone who could make it do more than the specs suggested it was capable of. There had to be someone to repair the damage done by the Klingons or Romulans. There had to be somebody to offer escape when the crew was in peril on planets below.
The line "Beam me up, Scotty," never appeared in The Original Series. Some folks find that hard to believe. It just seems like it should.
James Doohan was an actor. He was also a WWII vet who participated in D-Day with the Royal Canadian Army. Doohan has been quoted as saying that the part of "Scotty" was 99% Jimmy Doohan, and 1% Scottish accent.
We are not the characters we play, either in Hollywood or in life. As William Shatner suggested in an SNL skit some years ago, fanatic Trekkies really ought to "get a life." He's right on many fronts. One of the things about mythologies though, once established, there is a life and nature of them that transcends the individual. The role, the actor is a conduit to communicate larger, more universal truths.
Be we clergy or lay people, as we embrace the mantle of faith, it is not we who are holy, but Christ in us. We are conduits of grace in our living. Maybe we even surprise ourselves at our capacity to be graceful. Hopefully, we shock ourselves at our propensity to be disgraceful. But isn't it refreshing to think, if properly focused, that the spirit we bring to our varied roles can impact others? Isn't that evangelism? To let Christ be made known through us?
So, rest in peace, Jimmy Doohan - "here's to ya, laddie."
I appreciate your work, and your character.
We need warp speed, now, Scotty. Somebody fix the engines!