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Unaverage Trekkie: How I met Denise Crosby

Unaverage Trekkie: How I met Denise Crosby

By David Kleparek

As I don’t live in LA or Vegas, I don’t have the opportunity of getting into the Star Trek scene.  The number of times I’ve met respectable Star Trek personalities can be counted on one finger. Now I’m not a believer in destiny or fate, but sometimes coincidence is a little too much to ignore.  Such was the case on Friday, December 4th, 2009.

I had an appointment that morning at 8:45 (or 0845 hrs military time) at Travis Air Force Base, about an hour drive from my home in Sacramento.  After the short appointment, I stopped by the on-base mini-mall to pick up a couple items.  As I was entering the clothing shop, I saw a sign featuring a photo of Denise Crosby in her Star Trek: The Next Generation uniform.

“Presented by CJ Collectibles: Denise Crosby, Star Trek’s Lt. Tasha Yar, December 4th 11:00-17:00 hrs”

‘That’s today!’ I said to myself. ‘How could I have been so lucky to be here on the very day that Denise Crosby will be here?’

I had a decision to make.  I could either go back to work right away or I could slack off for a couple hours until I was able to meet Denise Crosby, get her autograph and go back to work.  I carefully weighed the options for “zero point six eight seconds” and decided that I could explain being late to work, but I could never forgive myself for passing on this incredible opportunity.

I waited around and wasted time until 11 o’clock when I headed over to the booth where Denise would be signing autographs.  When I arrived, she was arranging her table with photos and Star Trek trading cards featuring Tasha and Sela.   I had her sign one of her photos for me and we talked briefly.

The guy running the event was offering to take photos and print them out on the spot for Denise to sign.  I couldn’t pass on that offer.  We had our photo taken and I waited for the print. To my extreme good fortune, the photo printer was having technical difficulties, so I was ‘forced’ to sit with Denise for about 45 minutes and wait until my photo was printed off.

During that time I was a party to many conversations with Denise and passing Star Trek fans.  One person asked what she thought of the movie Star Trek that hit theaters this past summer.  She said it was an exciting film and has successfully reinvigorated the franchise for a new generation who hasn’t had the opportunity to grow up with Star Trek like so many of us have.  She surmised that younger people are used to newer technology and need much more visually exciting adventures than the Star Trek that we have been used to.

She also explained to one fan why she decided to leave Star Trek after one season.  She explained that she had a lot of acting training that wasn’t being put to use on the TNG set. She would stand on the bridge set for hours on end only to say a line here or a line there.

We also spoke briefly about how quirky the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation seems today.  She particularly remembered the episode “Code of Honor” where Tasha had to fight another woman after the ruler of the people decided to make Tasha his “first one.”  Such a racist depiction of black people would never fly in today’s society, but TNG was very under the radar at the time.

Denise Crosby is a very kind person.  When a rather strange fellow came up and asked some very peculiar questions to her, she was much more patient and friendly that I would have been.

Finally, the photo was ready and I got it signed by Denise.  I said goodbye and headed back to Sacramento.  I was late coming back to work, but no one even asked me where I’d been.  It’s like those hours that I spent waiting and visiting were meant just for me to meet the Star Trek icon.

Who knows?  Maybe it was fate.

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