Assimilation - Bringing Jay into the Star Trek™ Family
Jay with a handful of prototype Tribbles.
Since today is Jay's birthday, I figured it was only appropriate to write this month's blog post about his assimilation into the Star Trek fandom.
If you follow us on social media then you know that I was born and raised a Trekkie. My husband, Jay, was not. He was, however, a fan of Science Fiction, so I knew there was hope.
The two of us aboard the Galileo re-creation at the Star Trek Set Tours.
Science Fiction actually brought us together. Long after we started dating, Jay admitted to me what it was about me that first caught his attention. We were both in a college BFA Lighting Design program at the time. The department had called all of the lighting design students into the theater over the weekend to load in lighting equipment for the first show of the season. Jay wore a t-shirt from a British Science Fiction show that was near and dear to my family's hearts. My parents had discovered it in the early years of their relationship, and shared it with my sister and myself when we were in high school.
"Is that a Red Dwarf t-shirt?!" I called incredulously across the room. I didn't think anyone else knew the show existed. I didn't have any friends at the time who were into geeky things. Jay whipped around to see who the heck had recognized the show. Apparently that's the day it all began.
I had a long-term boyfriend at the time, and it was several months before we got together, but it didn't take long after that for me to know that it was time--time for the Star Trek test. If this man was going to be a serious (and possibly permanent) part of my life, then I needed to know what he thought about Star Trek.
We started at the beginning, working our way through TOS. I had only ever watched Star Trek with people who I knew loved the show--my dad and my sister. Mom would watch with us, too, sometimes. She constantly surprises me with the things she has osmosed over time. I guess it's inevitable when it's on constantly. It was slightly unnerving watching something so beloved from my childhood with someone whose reaction to it meant so much. What would Jay think?
During our panel with Jordan Hoffman at Star Trek Las Vegas in 2019 about creating Tribbles as fans, Jordan asked Jay if he immediately liked Star Trek, or if Jay had to fake it for awhile before really embracing the show. After all, Jay's first introduction to it was his girlfriend sitting him down in the 2010s to watch a show from the 60s. I turned inquiringly to my husband of six years, and admitted to the room that even I didn't know the answer to the question. This was a turning point in our relationship; the man I loved was about to potentially admit that he had not immediately fallen in love with the greatest show ever made.
A screenshot from our fan panel at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019.
Jay responded (and I'm paraphrasing) that the message of Star Trek is relevant to today, and that's why he likes it. He was first engaged by Star Trek because I loved it, but was then almost immediately drawn in because it appealed to his need as an artist for entertainment to provide an opportunity for discourse about current social issues. Whew! That meant we could stay married. (Just kidding. I love him, no matter what).
After completing TOS, we turned to The Next Generation. I had only watched TOS and TAS with my family growing up, so this was a version of Star Trek that we could experience for the first time together. Over the course of our college years the two of us watched every episode of every version of Star Trek that had ever been made--and Jay began not only to like Star Trek, but to become a fan. We even began attending conventions, first in Boston, and then for the 50th anniversary celebration during Star Trek: Mission New York.
We visited the Intrepid Museum in New York to see the Enterprise space shuttle and the restored Galileo shuttlecraft from "The Galileo Seven." We attended the Experience Music Project (now re-branded as MoPop) "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" exhibit. And when my parents flew east to help us paint the house we bought a few years ago, we thanked my dad by driving to Ticonderoga, New York to experience the incredible Star Trek Set Tours. Of course, during all of that, we had no idea that it would all culminate in real life Tribbles, debuted at Star Trek Las Vegas in 2019.
Jay at the Intrepid Museum during the Starfleet Academy Experience.
Our marriage is built, among many other shared interests and experiences, on Star Trek. Watching together was one of the first activities that we enjoyed regularly as a couple. Then it became one of the activities we shared with my dad. Now, we all play weekly games of Star Trek Catan via Zoom. We own so many copies of the game that my family may be personally responsible for the recent re-release.
Even the Tribbles get involved with Star Trek Catan.
Star Trek has brought us all together. My dad even used a phrase from Star Trek to let everyone know during his toast at our wedding that Jay had truly been accepted as part of the family. Before raising his glass, he presented my new husband with a certificate that read "Assimilated." Jay kept it tucked inside his computer case, prominently on display for years before we finally scrapbooked it to keep it safe.
The Tribbles exist partially because I wanted one so, so, so badly. But they really exist because Jay would do anything for his nerdy, Star Trek-loving wife--including allowing her to make a huge mess of electronics parts in the living room while she learned how to build and code electronics, learning to solder said electronics in order to compact a 4'x4' monstrosity of wires (did I mention I get messy when I work on projects?) into a 4"x2" makeshift prototype electronics box, and then co-founding and co-running a business for the sole purpose of sharing real pet Tribbles with other Star Trek fans. If that's not love, I don't know what is.
So happy birthday to the love of my life, and the Vulcan to my Klingon. I love you, Jay, and I look forward to a lifetime of trekking together.