Your Inner Klingon
What in the world possesses Star Trek fans to dress up in Klingon warrior garb and drive to conventions, movies and gatherings of similarly minded people where they only speak Klingon? There was even a story about a couple that raised their kids to speak only Klingon. That is definitely over the edge unless they expected their kids to become pirates, but even then there's no way they could gather the resources they needed to become pirates. And who would marry them? They would never fit in and will probably suffer from a host of psychological disorders for the rest of their lives. This is an extreme example, but it is somewhat symptomatic of the mania Star Trek engenders with many fans.
There is a hysteria involved in being a Star Trek fan. It seems that it always comes down to complex in-depth discussions about how the producers and writers made a certain mistake because the direction they might have taken in a particular episode didn't fit with the historical lore, or a certain character wouldn't behave that way. Endless discussions ensue these sorts of topics in the Star Trek community.
How unhealthy is this? Is it unhealthy? It seems almost a religious zeal that grips us fans. It isn't quite there, but it is one more thing that can fill our lives to the point that we don't miss relationships with people and religious influence in our lives. I draw the line at wearing uniforms and Vulcan ears. Going to conventions more than 15 years ago, I saw lots of people dressing up as Star Fleet officers and Klingons. There was one Klingon in particular who went to every convention in the United States. The person who pointed this out to me had a scrapbook filled with pictures from every single convention and this particular Klingon was always in it.
I'd say that's unhealthy. There are many good things that come out of Star Trek: cross cultural tolerance, the golden rule, the vision of a future utopia, seeking all possible routes to peace with your enemies before shoving a torpedo up their shuttle bay... But there is no doubt that the most visible fans are socially awkward geeky types who model their lives after particular aliens in Star Trek or as officers in the Federation's Starfleet. Maybe that's good, because on the opening day of the latest movie, I saw a lot of slightly overweight but seemingly happy couples file in from the parking lot. Their allegiance to Star Trek was evident by the stickers on their car, hats on their head or Star Fleet logos on their t-shirts. Can we argue that Star Trek may be having a negative effect on people when it can bring together people who lack social skills but have a lot of heart?
Okay, admittedly, there are positives. But for those who dress up as Klingons and stage mock battles at movie events, I will say that they need to re-evaluate their lives. Some of these people have Klingon weddings for goodness sake! What makes this behavior questionable is the fact that they are completely immersed in their characters to the point that they even identify themselves as Klingon, and yet do not actually live as Klingons. What I mean is that they do not actually take their bat'leths, (a Klingon sword for lack of a better analogy), and fight each other for real. They are unwilling to take that step into the extreme and really experience life as a Klingon.
I am not proposing that fans of Klingons become violent and stage real battles with other Klingons or humans so they can live the life they think they love. But if they really want to show their commitment and truly embody the essence of being Klingon, that's one of the things they would have to do. There are other ways they can live as Klingons that do not have to be so destructive. One of the biggest of these is hard discipline, and closely related is the denial of comforts. But that would be a big problem, because most human Klingons are overweight. It's the kind of fat you also might see on an adult that eats a lot of comfort food. These are people who do not want to deal with reality. I know, I have that same tendency. And Star Trek was a big escape for me in high school.
From time to time I think about that every-convention Klingon, and I always remember his face. In all the pictures I saw of him, he never smiled. He wandered around alone, looking at vendor tables, maybe buying something, maybe not. But who knew him? I could be totally off the mark, but I think he led a sad life.
This is the problem with Klingon mania. They are a group of people who emulate the fiercest, toughest people in the Star Trek galaxy, and they are very much the opposite of that ideal themselves. They lack something great in their lives, and being a Klingon and being a part of the Star Trek community fills that hole and makes them feel special for a little while.
I think it's better to get off the holodeck, and start living in the real world, and deal with real people, and most of all, deal with the real you. If there is a Klingon inside you, scratching and biting to get out, find out why he or she is there. Maybe you'll find that you feel like a walking carpet in real life and you're afraid to confront mean people, or maybe you need to go river rafting, or maybe you need to join the Navy and live that life for real.
There is one interesting group, a German-Klingon band, Kosmic Horrör, that sounds like a cross between hard metal and goth, with a Klingon attitude. I don't care for their music, but I admire that they have blended a fantasy with something real and are successful at it. I would say that what they are doing is more healthy because they actually apply an aspect of what they love to their lives. They are not fakes. Is what they are doing healthy? I'll leave that up to the reader to decide.
Beware: one picture may be a little inappropriate!
Drop Cloaking Shields
The real question is, is there a Klingon inside you clamoring to get out? My inner Klingon is the struggle between the surfer dude I want to be and the negative pessimist realist that tells me I shouldn't be spending the time and the money required for gas and maintenance on my car if I go regularly like I want. What is it that frustrates you? What conflict inside your head and heart keeps rearing its ugly head? This doesn't mean abandon all your responsibilities and fly away with a whole new persona. The trick is to merge this part of your personality with the rest of you, and in that way you will become the master chess player at the park, or a ministry leader at your church, or maybe you'll go bungee jumping or buy that classic car you've always wanted. Perhaps you'll look for a homeless person to take to Denny's and give him a hundred dollars afterward. These are the things we hold ourselves back from because of some personal, familial or social convention. But for whatever reason, we refuse to listen to that inner voice. So the questions you must ask yourself if you find yourself looking for that Star Trek uniform are, who is your inner Klingon and do you have the courage to find out?