Tuesday, April 8, 2008

To Go Where No Man Has Gone Before...Boldly.

Last night I was checking out the internet, and happened to log onto the 15 Minute Lunch blog site. In his latest post, blogger Johnny Virgil (a pretty funny guy in his own right...check him out) had posted about occasionally discovering 'Klingon food' in his kitchen pantry.

That naturally got me thinking of a story.

About 12 years ago I traveled to Dallas, Texas for the winery I was working for at the time. I had come to Dallas to take part in our distributor's annual trade tasting. I had also come to Dallas extremely late in the evening, thanks to a delayed connection out of LAX. I arrived at the Marriott a little after midnight, and as I tried to check in I was intercepted by the manager, "I'm terribly sorry, sir, but we're overbooked. I have taken the liberty to provide you an Executive Suite at the nearby Hilton for the length of your stay...and, of course, we will pick up the tab." Crisis averted, I thanked the man for his efforts, and was driven over to the Hilton.

I entered the lobby of the Hilton at 1am dog-tired and ready to hit my head on any pillow they offered. As I finished checking in, I felt a strange presence all around me. I slowly turned my head and noticed I was surrounded by Klingons. Yep...Klingons. And not your "Star Trek Original Series' Klingons", but those hemorrhoid-headed, "Next Generation" types. And beyond the Klingons were scores of folks dressed up in various Trek regalia. It quickly dawned on me: I am staying at a hotel that's hosting a Star Trek convention!

Now, let me digress to say that there was a time in my life that I was a BIG-TIME Star Trek fan. "How big a fan?" you may ask? Big enough to have been the president of a Star Trek fan club, a club which had members in such faraway places as Japan and Yugoslavia. Big enough to get confrontational with anyone who dared to call me a 'Trekkie'. I was a Trekker. Trust me, there is a difference*. Yes, I was a fan...and I guess at a certain level I still am. But then I entered puberty, and began to date girls. I left behind the passions of my youth for other, more Earthly, um...passions.

There's a certain unease that comes with being in a lobby full of Star Trek geeks. I imagine it's a bit like feeling claustrophobic: all you want to do is get yourself to a bigger space. I kept my eyes focused on the elevator, walking quickly to its doors in hopes of entering sanctuary. I entered the elevator and breathed a sigh of relief, thinking to myself, "thank gawd I never got that obsessed." It was then I noticed a young lady, about four feet tall looking up at me from glasses that resembled the bottoms of Coke bottles. She was dressed as a lieutenant from "Star Trek: The Next Generation". "Earther lifts," she murmured, "I hate Earther lifts, don't you? They're so jerky," to which I replied, "yeah...I know the feeling." She then came a little closer to me, smiled and purred, "I like turbo lifts...they're much smoother, don't you think?"

Have you ever been hit on by a midget Trekkie? Take my word for it, it's a very disturbing experience.

The next morning I awoke in my hotel bed, fully rested and ready for breakfast. I shaved, showered, dressed and headed down to the hotel's restaurant. Riding in the elevator, I half wondered if my late night foray into the final frontier was some twisted dream. That theory was shot to hell as soon as the elevator doors opened.

As during the night before, the lobby was full of Trekkies. I entered the restaurant and ordered some coffee. Perusing the menu, I couldn't help but notice a group of Klingons looking over the breakfast buffet. They might very well have been the same Klingons I encountered the night before, but you know Klingons: they all look the same. The 'lead' Klingon (and I can only assume he was the leader because his faux-Klingon hemorrhoidal forehead was incredibly realistic) sniffed loudly as if smelling a newly-minted dog turd. "Earther food?!" he complained for all of us to hear, "I can't eat this Earther food!!"

Dude, if only that were true. Then you would starve and die. One less Trekkie would be a good thing, right?

After a very productive day at the trade tasting and a hosting a winemaker dinner, I made it back to the refuge of my hotel room. At 3am in the morning I was awoken by the sounds of Trekkies out in the hallway. They were chatting - loudly - about random Star Trek trivia. Hadn't these kids heard of decaffeinated cola...or SpectraVision? It was then when I heard one of these guys state, "Chet, you're such a phaser-brain that you probably don't even know what the "T" in James T. Kirk stands for!"

Awoken from a deep sleep and highly pissed off, I swung open the door of my hotel room, looked at this group of prepubescent boys and whispered through gritted teeth, "Guys, it's three o'clock in the fucking morning! Some of us have jobs, some of us have a life. Go back into your rooms and keep the noise down...and by the way, it's Tiberius." Just as I was closing the door, one of them proclaim, "Hey! He's one of us!" I swung the door back open, gave them all a serious look, and whispered, "I was never one of you," and slammed the door.

I finished that night sleeping like a rock...or maybe it was a Horta*?

* To those of you uninitiated, a Trekker is a serious student of all things Trek. They realize that the television show was just that...a television show. On the other hand, Trekkies are geeky twerps who spend their lives dressing up like their favorite characters, hoping that one day they'll be transported to the bridge of the real Enterprise.

* A Horta is a rock-eating, silicon-based creature that is
indigenous to the planet Janus VI. The Horta
made its appearance in the original Star Trek episode, Devil in the Dark. Ohmygawd! How in the hell did I remember that crap?

"Beam me up, Scotty...or at least get me over to Humor-Blogs.com!"


Johnny Virgil said...

The Pain! The Pain! Cry for the Children!

mrviognier said...

Why am I suddenly reminded of Sally Struthers?

Johnny Virgil said...

Because she has much in common with the Horta?

mrviognier said...


Both in size, complexion AND the fact that they can be repaired using industrial spackling!

mrviognier said...

And, if you REALLY want to show your stripes as a Trekker/Trekkie: what was the name of the stunt man who PLAYED the Horta...and name at least one other show/movie he worked in.