WWWednesday: The Trek Life
by David Reddick
"I'm just a Red Shirt in the Star Trek episode of life."
When I read that line, I became a fan of David Reddick's The Trek Life. I've confessed in many previous posts now that I'm a Trekkie, but I must elaborate that I'm a very selective Trekkie. I've yet to embrace Deep Space Nine, and I have't seen every episode of Enterprise yet. While these confessions may seem sacrilegious to my more faithful Trekkie peers, I insist that they make me the better fan. Some facets of the Trek Universe are still unexplored to me! Don't you remember when you watched those episodes or read those books for the first time? I'm still there, man, and since Trek has become a finite franchise for the time being (at least on the air), I'm stretching out the experience for as long as I can.
Similarly, I hadn't read much of The Trek Life before today. I'd read a strip here or there on StarTrek.com, but I found many of the strips pandering to the fanbase. I mean, yes, Klingons are perpetually angry and Orion slave girls are perpetually hot, so does that makes them perpetual punchlines? This was my first impression, and I was wrong to jump to such a hasty conclusion. I took the time to read The Trek Life in significant chunks today, and I've developed an appreciation for writer/artist David Reddick's commitment to source material, specifically in regards to its applications to real life. His Trekkie protagonist, Carl, is in some strips a fanboy's Dilbert, balancing his obsessions in the workplace, and in other strips a fanboy's Charlie Brown, suffering from the fair share of hard luck that comes with such a, er, focused lifestyle. Star Trek is really used as the fulcrum for a grander scheme, with a frontier as boundless as space itself.
Hence, my appreciation for that line: "I'm just a Red Shirt in the Star Trek episode of life." While one would have to be a Trekkie to understand Carl's sentiment, a layman could use context clues to determine its oppressed (albeit fatal) undertone, and thus relate to it. The beauty of Trek's more familiar alien races is that each of them represent a facet of humanity, perhaps in a way that Gene Roddenberry sought to exploit in his own fable-oriented way. In one strip, when Carl decides to dress up like a Tribble for Halloween, his purpose is clear: like the Tribbles, his desire is simply to be there, to immerse himself in all that is the Enterprise. Hey, I can relate, buddy. I've been on the bridge of the Enterprise. The chair has power.
But I digress. Ultimately, The Trek Life is a palpable exploration of obsession in its finest form, which is something everyone can relate to whether they admit it or not. For one, it's a Trek life. For another, it's a football life. For me, for today, it's a Trek Life life. Such are the perks of boldly going where I haven't before.