Where No One Has Gone Before, And May Never Go Again

“That’s what J.J. had in mind when he made the movie,” K told me.  We’d just finished discussing whether her husband would enjoy the new Star Trek movie.  He was never a fan of Star Trek and didn’t watch any of the series and upon hearing that, I said, “Well then he’ll probably love it.”

I wanted to love it.  I really did.  I was a big fan of Star Trek growing up.  I wasn’t a freak about it.  I went to one, I repeat one Star Trek Convention and it was enough to tell me that I never wanted to go to another one.  Star Trek fans are freaks, pure and simple.

But I liked the shows of my generation.  The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. But after Voyager, after Gene Roddenberry died and the production staff stopped adhering to his philosophy things started to change.

On December 19th, I wrote a blog entry on an old blog of mine about this phenomenon:

Lawaxana Troi as played by Majel Barrett Roddenberry

Lwaxana Troi died yesterday.

Majel Barrett Roddenberry and Gene Roddenberry

Majel Barrett who played Lwaxana Troi, on Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST: TNG),  died yesterday at the age of 76, from Leukemia.  If you care, and you want to read up on it, I’m sure you can find any number of stories about her and about her death (not to mention her life) on the internet today.  But what really bothers me, aside from the obvious sadness that goes with any loss of human life, is what this means for Star Trek.

The wife of Gene Roddenberry, who created Star Trek, Barrettt is one of the few actors who has been in every version of Star Trek ever to exist.  Most notably, she has provided the voice of the Federation Computer systems in every show (except Enterprise – I think) since the first Star Trek movie.  She is a Star Trek icon and things will never be the same.

Star Trek: The Original Series

I remember being a young boy in the ’80s, lying on my mother’s bed on Saturday afternoons, watching the original Star Trek series.  I remember thinking that this show must have been on forever.  I knew it wasn’t a current production but I honestly didn’t know the history behind it.  I didn’t know that the show was only on for three seasons.  I didn’t know that NBC canceled it after the first season and that it was brought back, only because of the outpouring of viewer objection and a letter writing campaign.  I just knew it was a fun show to watch and I liked Captain Kirk.  It’s funny how things change because in later years while watching The Next Generation, I remember reflecting on the original series as not being that great and thinking that the acting and the stories were lame and not liking Captain Kirk all that much.  For years, I have reflected on the original series as being hokey, and William Shatner as being a ridiculous caricature of a man.  His speech patterns and over-acting leave a lot to be desired, even now.  As Denny Crane on Boston Legal, he could only be laughed at for being such a buffoon.  But not long ago I watched a few digitized episodes of Star Trek:  The Original Series (ST: TOS), on HD Net.  I was quite surprised to see that I actually found Captain Kirk quite attractive, in his youth.

I have loved Star Trek for as long as I can remember.  Even when I did not like it, I loved it.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

After those original series episodes became harder to find, I forgot, to some extent that Star Trek existed, outside of the movies and then one day my family was visiting another family and the kids were watching this new Star Trek series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation“.  I was roughly 12 years old and I thought it was really dumb.  More importantly, I thought it would never work, “There can’t be a Klingon on a Starfleet ship” we said.  And honestly, if you watch that first season or two, you’ll see that it was pretty hokey.  But then the show caught on and, I’m sure, got more money and it started really improving until it became one of my favorites and a can’t miss show.

About five years in, a new series was introduced, Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (ST: DS9).  Being the natural born skeptic that I am I had a hard time imagining how a show about a space station could fit the Star Trek mold, but they made it work and ST: DS9 was another favorite, not to be missed show.  When ST: TNG went off the air two seasons later, I was disappointed.  It was, and remains to be, my personal favorite incarnation of the Star Trek Universe.  My disappointment that the show was ending, as All Good Things… must, was tempered only by the immediate announcement that there would be a ST: TNG movie coming out the following year.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9

Star Trek: Voyager

ST: TNG ended in May, 1994 and in January, 1995 the third, and to date, final “Next Generation” series, Star Trek: Voyager (ST: V) premiered.  Again, I was skeptical.  The ship was flung to the far side of the galaxy which means, none of the usual alien species would appear.  The hoke potential was considerably higher as a result, however, it turned out to be really well done.  This series debuted at a time in my life when things were really rough and I was very unhappy in my circumstances.  ST: V provided me with just a little taste of what “normal” was like for me, a taste of my life before I moved to Dead Beat Dad’s house and before my fiancé cheated on, and then broke up with me.  ST: DS9 ended in 1999 and then ST: V ended in May, 2001.

Star Trek: Enterprise

When I heard that there would be a new Star Trek series in September 2001, I was happy.  As far as I was concerned (and still am) there should always be a Star Trek series in production.  And then I heard that Enterprise (later known as Star Trek: Enterprise) (ST: E) was going to be a prequel.  That it was going to take place before the time of ST: TOS and I was really disappointed.  ST: TOS was created in the 1960s and the technology was far inferior to what we have today.  I felt that taking us back in time was a bad idea.  After we became accustomed to all the “modern technology” of that futuristic existence, how could they expect us to be interested in a show with switches and dials (instead of the touch screens of the TNG era) and how could they expect us to believe a “prehistoric” iteration of the show if it used the touch screen technology to which we were accustomed.  But it was a Star Trek series and of course I watched it.

I found ST: E disappointing.  They made some valiant attempts to keep the fans engaged.  The set designs and the technology of the times were actually successful, in my mind, though not as interesting because they weren’t so advanced as the serieses (seri?) that took place a couple hundred years later.  The show was fine for what it was, but it wasn’t a great Star Trek series.  Eventually, there was another television show that I wanted to watch that was opposite ST: E and I chose the other show.   (I wasn’t a proud owner of a TiVo or DVR yet.)

Enterprise ended in May, 2005 and for the first time in 18 years there would be no new Star Trek on television.  That is a void which still has yet to be filled in my heart.  Heroes makes an effort.  It’s an excellent SciFi show (though it’s quality is waning) and they keep bringing in actors from the Star Trek Universe (although it’s been original series actors only until this weeks episode with Michael Dorn) but it is no substitute.

Conner Trinneer, Commander Charles (Trip) Tucker III, on Star Trek: Enterprise

Recently I re-watched Enterprise on HD Net.  I had the opportunity to watch the entire series from beginning to end and was surprised to find that I liked it quite a bit.  I don’t know if I was just nostalgic for the good ole days of yore, of if the show really was that good and I just didn’t see it then, but I found the show very interesting and compelling and the two characters that once annoyed me, Hoshi and T’Pol, were now far more intriguing and appealing.  Of course with my new found certainty in my sexuality, I wasn’t afraid to admit that Trip (Conner Trinneer) was pretty fine to look at, as well.

The death of Majel Barrett, to me, solidifies the end of an era.  The Star Trek Universe has been slowly imploding ever since the 1991 death of creator Gene Roddenberry, when Rick Berman took over as head Trekker.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have loved the vast majority of the Star Trek Universe, but I have noticed on several occasions that Berman has not held true to Roddenberry’s concept.

It seems to me that Gene Roddenberry envisioned a show that would parallel the real world…the times we lived in, but with an optimistic, positive spin.  The Original Series so closely represented our nation in the time of the cold war, while simultaneously offering hope of a brighter tomorrow.  In my opinion, Star Trek was about hope, and faith, and peace.  Captain Kirk was a very physical man and often came to fisticuffs with the alien species du jur, but he was never the aggressor.  Violence was never the solution, it was the last resort.  Before Star Trek: Generations was released in theaters there was much discussion of the different temperaments between Captain Kirk and Captain Piccard.  Some speculation suggested there would be a physical altercation between the two men and whether Captain Piccard, he of the peaceful nature, could hold his own against, Captain Kirk.  In the end I think we saw that when pushed, Captain Piccard can hold his own against a good number of people.  But first and foremost these were both peaceful men.

Species 8472 from Star Trek: Voyager

Gene Roddenberry once stated that all the aliens in the Star Trek universe would be humanoid, bi-peds.  Of course, this was at least in part due to technological constraints regarding special effects.  In the 1960s it would have been much more difficult and much more costly, not to have the aliens played by actors in costumes and make-up and certainly in the 1990s and 2000s sufficient advancements had been made to make it possible for producers of the shows to use CGI technology to include other types of aliens besides humanoid bi-peds.  Nonetheless, Gene Roddenberry, made the declaration that aliens in the Star Trek universe would always be bi-pedal, humanoids.  So when, in ST: V they introduced “Species 8472″, I was bothered by the disregard for his preference.  Fortunately, Species 8472 had very few appearances on this show and therefore didn’t impact the entire thing.

Star Trek:  Enterprise, started out innocuously enough.  It was “just another” Star Trek series and I enjoyed it for what it was, but many viewers lost interest fairly quickly, and by the end of the second season, there was talk of cancellation.  I guess Paramount, who owns the Star Trek Franchise, and UPN, the now defunct network that aired it, wanted to give it one more shot.  The final episode of the second season, starts with an alien probe dropping out of subspace in orbit of earth and firing on the planet cutting a swath from Florida to Venezuela and in the process killing seven million humans, among them the younger sister of Commander Charles (Trip) Tucker , Chief Engineer.

In that moment the entire series changed and grew dark.  The ship and her crew were no longer on a mission of exploration and diplomacy.  They were out to find the bastards who attacked earth and stop them before they returned.

Xindi, Aquatic Species, from Star Trek: Enterprise

Xindi, Insectoid Species, from Star Trek: Enterprise

The weapon that had fired on earth was but a test, and the next one, would destroy the planet.  The race responsible for the attack was called the Xindi (pronounced ZEN-dee) and they were made up of five species.  Three of those species were traditional, bi-pedal, humanoids.  Two of them were not.  The Aquatics and the Insectoids were CGI and made semi-regular appearances on the show. For me, this detracted greatly as it seemed a blatant slap in the face of Gene Roddenberry’s original intent.

Star Trek:  Enterprise also had very little to offer in the way of positivity and optimism.  Captain Archer became dark and volatile after the attack on Earth (not that I don’t think that a reasonable response.)  As I’m writing this I’m realizing that the story then more closely paralleled our times with the attacks of September 11, 2001, and our desire to see the attackers brought to justice, but where the original series paralleled something that was an on-going (I imagine, though I’m too young to know) threat with no real result, September 11th was a very real attack, with real destruction and real death, and in my opinion, it was very uncomfortable to watch this sort of parallelism.

With the exception of the occasional nod in the TNG films, the other TNG series, DS9 and Voyager, were not deemed film worthy.  Yes, The Doctor from ST: V makes an appearance in Star Trek:  First Contact, and a post-Voyager “Admiral” Janeway, gives Captain Piccard his marching orders in Star Trek: Nemesis, but beyond that those other series might well have never existed as far as the Star Trek Film culture is concerned.

The presumed final Next Generation feature film, Star Trek: Nemesis came out in December, 2002 and while this film included, what appeared to be a lot of finality:  Will and Deana finally got married; Will finally accepted a promotion and his own command, leaving the USS Enterprise; and of course the sacrificial death of Lt. Commander Data, we are left slightly hopeful by the idea that Data’s predecessor, the “cleverly” named B-4, shows signs of being able to learn and make use of Data’s downloaded memory engrams.

Six years later, I’m less hopeful of an additional installment.

There is another Star Trek movie on the horizon, and while it doesn’t go back as far in history as Star Trek:  Enterprise did, it is still what you’d call a prequel and I’m not really sure why we’re doing it.  This movie will be about James Kirk and his crew in their younger, academy or possibly immediately post-academy days.  I watched a trailer for it the other day and I must say that, as an incarnation of Star Trek, I’m not impressed.  It’s dark and ominous and it doesn’t visually fit the Star Trek motif.  And with the comparatively dismal performance of the last attempt at a prequel, I’m really not sure what we’re hoping for here.  Are they expecting a resurgence of interest with the hopes of starting a whole new theatrical franchise or are they trying to squeeze one final drop of monetary blood out of a dying targ?  If this film flops will this be the end of the Star Trek legacy?  And if it doesn’t flop, then what?

It’s a Star Trek movie, and I will go see it, but a part of me can’t help wondering, shouldn’t we leave well enough alone?  If it must eventually end, and it must eventually end, can’t we let it end with dignity?  Do we have to squeeze and squeeze until we’ve gotten all the quality material out and then keep squeezing to get all the junk out too?  Might we be better off leaving well enough alone?

Earlier this year, Star Trek: The Experience, an all Star Trek themed exhibit at the Las Vegas Hilton ended its nearly eleven year run, an event which made me very sad at it’s closing and, simultaneously happy that I got the opportunity to see it myself.

Star Trek: The Experience, Las Vegas Hilton

I was never particularly fond of Lwaxana Troi, and I don’t know anything of Majel Barrett besides her Star Trek work.  As for the computer, she was just the voice and of course that’s easily explained away, if not merely replicated.  And yet some how, I have been truly moved by this.  I’m surprised by how sad this makes me, but it does.

With Gene Roddenberry’s death in 1991 the helm changed hands and things started changing.  Today with the announcement of the death of Majel Barrett, I just feel like, on some level, Star Trek has died with her.  Gene Roddenberry is gone.  Scotty is dead.  Dr. McCoy is dead.  William Shatner doesn’t want to play anymore.  Data is dead.  Will and Deana have jumped ship, so to speak.  Star Trek:  The Experience is gone.  And now, the voice of the computer is gone as well.

Lwaxana Troi died yesterday.  And, I think maybe, Star Trek died too.

I saw the movie this weekend and my thoughts are conflicted on the subject.  This version of Star Trek, on it’s own merits, was a decent science fiction action adventure movie.  The script had some troubled spots.  Eric Bana as the villain, Nero, was thoroughly unimpressive and his characters motivation throughout the film was not especially believable. Chris Pine’s portrayal of James Kirk comes off more as someone who accidentally saved the day and not a born hero destined for greatness.   His place as captain feels more like an error in judgment soon to be regretted than a natural fit.  Winona Ryder as Spock’s human mother, Amanda Grayson, is simply not believable.  Winona Ryder is not old enough to be Zachary Quinto’s mother and certainly not old enough to be Spock’s mother.  This was casting that I simply could not accept or ignore.  I could say more but with the movie in only it’s 4th day of release I would not want to be responsible for spoiling the plot for anyone who has not yet seen it.

More importantly to me, as an unabashed trekkie, this film ruined everything that is good about Star Trek.  It changes history and nullifies everything that Star Trek has been for 22 years.

K told me that JJ Abrams set out to make a Star Trek movie for the non-trekkie.  If that’s what he wanted he should have made a movie about an original, never before seen set of characters.  He should not have been allowed to make a movie that effectively destroys everything that is known and loved by existing Star Trek fans the world over.

Shame on you JJ Abrams!  And shame on you Paramount for allowing such a thing to happen.

And Now, The Rest of the (Aisha Tyler) Story

If you read my previous post in its entirety, then you are:

a) a glutton for punishment

b) a good, good person and friend who is worthy of much praise

c) thoroughly entitled to the true-er version of the story

d) all of the above.

And if you didn’t read my previous post then this whole story is new to you, although, really!  Don’t be rude.  Go back and read it.  Go ahead.  Go now! I’ll wait.

So Aisha Tyler and I are not really BFFs and in fact she probably won’t remember me the next time she sees me, and there will be a next time.  But she might.  Since I’ve changed my twitter profile picture to the picture she and I took together every time she reads one of my tweets she should get a look at me.

I’ve been a fan of Aisha’s since she was on Friends and there’s really no explanation for my fandom since then other than she just is damn funny!  The first time I saw Aisha perform live she was very relatable and though I did not go and talk to her after that show I did observe her talking to others for a moment on the way out and she was just very gracious and kind to everyone.

Anyway, it’s true that Michelle and I went to see Aisha Tyler at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco, a year or so ago and had a chance to talk to her after the show.  She told us that she left Ghost Whisperer because she had some other big projects coming up in the following year and there just wasn’t enough time for it all.  We told her we missed Andrea, but we were glad Aisha left for good reasons.

I bought a copy of her book Swerve: Reckless Observations of a Postmodern Girl and as a result of our conversation she wrote the inscription shown here:

Aisha Swerve


Your shirt Rules!

Andre Says ‘hi’ from the great beyond… (SF)

Aisha Tyler”

She was very sweet, as always, and Michelle and I walked back to the car talking and laughing about the show.  I looked again at the inscription on the page and I thought, “Your shirt rules!”  When I’m 60 and senile, I’m not going to have any idea what that means.  I should have had a picture taken with her to keep with the book.

A couple moths ago, when I discovered Twitter, it didn’t take me long to start searching for celebrities and along the way I found Aisha Tyler.  It was clear it was really her and not someone impersonating her, and (probably) not a “ghost tweeter”.  I followed her and she truly was one of the first celebs to follow me back.  She was the first celeb to reply to something I said to her.

We have tweeted about Lost and…  Well, she’s tweeted about Quantum Mechanics, Video Games and Date Shakes, and I’ve made lame attempts at dialoging with her on subjects about which I know nothing.  I pestered her relentlessly (for a day or two) about getting her music video Nowassitall in an iTunes compatible format.  I had no problem finding a downloadable version of Aisha Tyler is Lit: Live at the Filmore, but I had purchased the DVD and only wanted the music video on my iPhone.  Still haven’t figured this one out so if anyone can tell me how to get just the music video, please send me an e-mail!

When she announced her San Francisco Tour dates she also offered a contest to win a couple tickets and she sent me a direct message on Tuesday to inform me that I had in fact won tickets to the show.  I did not know until arriving at the club that there were reserved seats for us as well.

Michelle and her sister, Monique, came to the show with me.  Neither of them tweets and so they don’t understand the twitter phenomenon.  So when I said “My friend Aisha Tyler gave me two tickets to her show on Thursday,” they laughed at me.  They said they wanted me to introduce them to “my friend Aisha Tyler”… So I did.

We waited till the crowd had thinned and the line was dwindling and we got ready to go talk to her.  I pulled out my iPhone to ready my profile picture, that of my cat Mischa. We ended up being in line behind a very drunk couple where the wife was determined to ask Aisha, “What is the swirly thing?” and it was a testament to Aisha’s graciousness when she simply smiled at the woman and said, “You know what the swirly thing is!”  If you don’t know about “the swirly thing” you must immediately acquire a copy of Aisha Tyler Is Lit: Live at the Filmore, watch it, love it, lather, rinse and repeat!

When the drunk couple left and we were next up, I walked up to the table and said to her, “Aisha, my two lady friends here have asked me to introduce them to you, because they do not believe that you and are close personal friends.”

Without missing a beat, she turned to Michelle and Monique and said, “Oh yeah!  We go way back!”  See?!? Totally gracious!  No idea what I was talking about but played along and acted the part!

I proceeded.  “See we are friends of sorts.  On Twitter anyway,” and then I showed her the picture of the cat and without hesitation she said, “Oh!  Riggledo!” and I must say her enthusiasm seemed to be honest and genuine!  Even if the enthusiasm was acted, I did not identify myself to her, so she genuinely recognized the picture!

I told her how much I appreciated her picking me and she said that with all the tweets we’d exchanged she couldn’t not pick me.  And then she turned to my friends and said, “He’s been so excited.  He’s been on the computer all day saying ‘five hours till Aisha Tyler’, ‘four hours till Aisha Tyler.’ I was like, ‘Do I need extra security?’”  She then said, “It’s kinda funny, and don’t take this the wrong way, but because your picture was a cat, I thought you were a girl for a while.”
I told her it was because I didn’t photograph well and I didn’t have any good pictures to post and promised that I’d replace the picture (which I did today,) with our picture.  And that’s when I read the inscription on the DVD cover she’d signed for me.

Aish is Lit


What’s up with the kitty kat?

Aisha Tyler

Tweet me!”

Hee hee.  That sounds dirty!  Anyway, moving right along!

The last thing was that I made a point of wearing the same shirt so that I could have my picture taken with her to take care of that pesky 60 years old and senile problem!

So you see, it’s true!  Aisha Tyler is my close, personal – Well, we’ve met a couple times and I think I can safely and fairly call her “friend”

Thanks for reading.  No clean up required this time around!

Aisha Tyler Droppings

It might be a good idea to put down a drop cloth and have a broom and dust pan standing by, ‘cause I’m about to do some big-time name dropping!

Well, OK, actually, I’m only going to drop one name, Aisha Tyler, but I’m going to do it a whole lot and there is about to be a whole pile of Aisha Tyler droppings on this here floor.  Wait!  That doesn’t sound right…

So Aisha Tyler is my new BFF and I have the photograph to prove it.  See…

This, by the way is also the moment I start a new diet.  Holy shit that man’s fat!  Anyway, Aisha Tyler is my new best friend and you probably don’t believe me so I shall now commence providing the overwhelming proof of what I am telling you.

A year or so ago I had a chat with Aisha Tyler after one of Aisha Tyler’s shows at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco.  We talked about Aisha Tyler’s time on Ghost Whisperer and why Aisha Tyler left after the first season and what Aisha Tyler had coming up.

I got a personal hand written note from Aisha Tyler, showing here:

The shirt to which Aisha Tyler’s note refers:

Aisha Tyler and I routinely exchange messages about various things, like “Lost”:

Aisha Lost 1

Kevin Lost 1

Aisha Lost 1.b

Aisha Lost 2

Kevin Lost 2

And quantum physics:

Aisha Quantum 1

Kevin Quantum 1

Aisha Quantum 2

And Date Shakes:

Aisha Date Shake 1

Kevin Date Shake 1

Aisha Date Shake 2

And Video Games:

Aisha Video Game 1

Kevin Video Game 1

Aisha Video Game 2

Kevin Video Game 2

Aisha Video Game 3

Kevin Video Game 3

Recently when announcing Aisha Tyler’s performance dates in San Francisco, Aisha Tyler gave me two tickets to Aisha Tyler’s Thursday night show, which was last night.  Aisha Tyler also surprised me by reserving a table right up front for me.

After the show I introduced my two companions to my close personal friend Aisha Tyler and I got another personal, hand written note from Aisha Tyler:

Aish is Lit

So I think you can see, that I’m not just making shit up and in fact Aisha Tyler really is my newest bestest friend!  I rest my case!

Now, get busy.  There’s a lot of Aisha Tyler droppings on the floor and you need to get to sweeping them up before some body tracks them all over your freshly cleaned carpet!

Nothing Much

I spent the better part of an hour and a half this afternoon writing a new blog post.  The topic was from the list of things I mentioned last week might be forth-coming, “Summer vacation plans (possibly from hell)”.  About two and a half pages in, I suddenly realized it wasn’t relevant.  The part that would have made it “from hell” isn’t happening and the vacation should be nice, at least mostly.

In July I’ll be flying to upstate New York (my first time when old enough to remember) to visit my sister, her husband and their two daughters.  The trip is, ostensibly centered around going to a family reunion near Buffalo.  The family is that of my paternal grandfather and his siblings descendants.  “Papa” was the seventh of eight children and had a lot of nieces and nephews who in turn had a lot of children.  There will be a multitude of Riggses at this event and I will know only a very small handful of them.  This is not my idea of a good time but it will only be one afternoon, and it was the impetus that was needed for me to fly across the country and visit my sister ET. AL.  It also gives my father the excuse he needs to come back to Albany where Erin lives and spend a few days with us sans step-monster, something that never happens.

So the trip should be fun.  I haven’t seen my nieces in three years and I know they will have changed considerably in that time.  Just as importantly though, it has given me an excuse to take two weeks off work and that is always good.  It’s good to have something to look forward to.

So, I had written this whole drawn out thing (if you read me with any regularity, you know that brevity is not really my friend) about my family dynamic and what this trip was going to mean and how stressful it had the potential to be and then I remembered!  “Wait a minute!  No!  It’s not!  It’s going to be awesome!!!”  So you’re in luck today, dear reader.  You’re getting a brief post without a lot of grumbling which is what I really prefer to give you anyway.

So I’ve written a post today, which, sadly, is all I’ve written so far today.  It’s practically five o’clock and I get to go home soon.  Everybody wins!

I started writing something this week that, for the first time, actually feels like it might have genuine potential to someday morph into, dare I say it out loud, a novel.  I’m actually really excited about it and wish I could spend every minute on it.  Should be interesting.  So far I have one and a half chapters, but the ideas keep flowing and the direction seems clear (for now) so I hope it turns into something great.  I’ve been told by multiple family members that writing is my gift and that I should pursue it.  I’ve just never listened.  But I’m starting to come around and I have high hopes!

Mind Your Business

I have always had an aversion to holidays that “celebrate” feelings for a particular person.  Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, the whole lot!   I’ve never understood the drive to pick a day to show your love to someone.  If you love someone why not show them that love everyday?  It is for this reason that I find gift giving so difficult for occasions like Mother’s Day.  I usually do if the money is there but it is often with some bregrudgement.

When I was in high school, my junior and senior years my school choir went on a week-end trip to a choral competition the week-end of mother’s day and so in order to make up for my absence (which was usually a relief) I sent flowers to my mother.  After I graduated I felt like I had to continue the tradition, mostly because it had been established and I had to continue it, right?

Over the years, I have usually been the only of my mother’s children to acknowledge Mother’s Day.  It’s only been the last year or two (or three) that I’ve been unable, financially speaking, to keep up my streak.  It’s also been the last several years that my  relationship with my mother has changed.  You see, a few years ago my mother and I had a bit of a falling out.  I love my mother, and that will never change, but the closeness we once had, no longer exists.  The details are a story for another time, but suffice it to say that I do not feel the obligation, or the gratitude that I once did and it is for this reason that I became angry when I received the following two e-mails from my mother’s boss/close friend.  The first arrived yesterday afternoon:

Dear Kevin,

Hope you are doing well.  I think of you so often and call you blessed!  We will always be glad to have you back here in Tulsa if you get tired of San Francisco.

I am writing to you and your siblings to ask each of you to send flowers and a loving card to your Mom for Mothers Day next Sunday.  I know this would really minister to her.  She does not know I am writing to you.

I think you usually do anyway, but if all of you made an extra effort this year it would really uplift her.  She stuck by all of you no matter how tough it got and raised you to know Jesus and the Word.  That was a supreme effort and she loves you all so much.

Thanks!  Love,

[Name removed]

Next Sunday is Mother’s Day

That annoyed me enough on its own, but then today I received this:

Dear Kevin,

Hope you are doing well.  Think of you so often and declare you blessed!

Next Sunday is Mothers Day, I am asking you to send flowers and a loving, appreciative card to your Mom.  She could really use that reminder this year that she is loved and remembered.

She is the one that stuck with all of you no matter how tough things were and taught you the Word.  Sometimes we all need to go
all out to express our love and thanks.

Love you,

[Name Removed]

This woman doesn’t know half of the real truth about our lives growing up with this woman for our mother, and it is for this reason that I don’t appreciate the final sentences in both e-mails, which, I think, steps beyond a recommendation or encouragement and into the realm of pure and simple guilt tactics.  This is having the opposite of the desired effect and is instead making me want to refuse to do anything at all.

The truth is I don’t think my mother would be particularly pleased to know that her friend had done this, and if I were just a little more evil, I would forward the e-mails to my mother so that she would find out and be angry at her friend.  Fortunately, I am not actually that vindictive.  So instead, I’m going to sit here like an impotent jerk and fume about the whole blasted thing on my own and have no idea what to do for a gift.

I guess the moral of this lame story is to say that if you have people in your life that you love, don’t wait for a special day to let them know it and don’t make a big deal out of the commercial days designed, in theory, to show your love and appreciation for the person, but mostly just to sell cards and gifts.

Oh! And also?  Stay out of other people’s business!  It doesn’t endear you to them in anyway.  Just sayin’!