By Steven Schlozman, M.D.
I remember the exact moment I realized that I could be Mr. Spock.
I was 9 years old, trapped in the “Husky” jeans section of the local Macy’s department store. Looking around at the selection of very big pants, I understood viscerally what I had known intellectually for years.
“Husky” meant “fat.” It meant that I was fat.
Not super fat, but fat enough to be in the Husky section.
I was awkward, developing in that tortured way that evolution see’s fit to make us endure. Staring at the mirror while my Mom gathered trousers for me try on, I was pissed off that because of this shopping trip, I was missing the rerun of “Star Trek” that aired on weekday afternoons.
“What would Spock think about the ‘Husky’ designation?” That’s what I was pondering. I was wondering how the master of logic would justify and make sense of the clearly derogatory way I was feeling about myself.
“Fascinating,” I imagined him saying, and he would raise that patented eyebrow.
Then I looked in the mirror, furrowed my brow, took note of the barely present peach fuzz growing under my nose, and with all the power of a Vulcan mind meld, I imagined that my right eyebrow was being pulled by a thread towards the stars. That one eyebrow was to boldly go where no eyebrow of mine had ever gone before.
And I did it. I raised that eyebrow.
“Fascinating,” I muttered. And then I did it again, and again. It was like a teeny Bar Mitzvah moment. “Today, I am a Vulcan.”
Spock meant that much to me. Spock could be friends with a tough guy like Kirk. Spock was unfazed by McCoy’s insults. Spock tolerated with admirable self-control the romantic advances of Nurse Chapel. Spock would, I was certain, be emotionally impervious to the Husky section of Macy’s.
“Fascinating,” I said, and again I raised my right eye brow.
I share the world’s sadness for Leonard Nimoy’s passing. I am grateful that he stuck around so long after he began his “five year mission.” I feel like a kid every time I hear his voice in the Imax theater at Boston’s Museum of Science. Every time I hear his voice, I am wearing Husky jeans but feeling OK about it.
These days I’m still raising one eyebrow on an almost daily basis. I even had a patient’s parent give me Vulcan ears for Christmas a few years ago.
“They’re not because you’re emotionally cold,” she explained.
No, I thought, Spock wasn’t cold.
“They’re because you’re not freaked out by our child. They’re because you’re interested.” Continue reading