My Next Gen Uniform and Starship Walmart

5 Aug

Backstory:

I’ve been a Star Trek fan since 1966 when I saw my first episode & fell instantly in love with Mr. Spock.

My mother said, “That’s the strangest show I’ve ever seen.”

In spite of her opinion, when we got a color television my excitement was totally geared towards watching Star Trek & finding out, once & for all, if Mr. Spock was really green.

Star Trek went into syndication about the time I went into nurses training. I’d stumble back to the dorm at the end of a day of classes or a day in the hospital learning how to give injections & irrigate colostomies, flop in front of the TV in the dorm lounge & go to sleep. Since it came on every day at 5:00 p.m., I’d always have Star Trek on the television & while I was sleeping I’d absorb, through osmosis, what was happening on TV. I’m sure that’s how I am able (to this day) to quote the complete dialogue of most of the original series Trek episodes. Those “sleep training” audio thingees really DO work.

When Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out I was disappointed. It was good to see the characters but the movie wasn’t at all what I expected. Then Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan hit the theaters. I drug my mom with me to see it & was shocked. They killed Mr. Spock & I felt that loss as deeply as though it had been a family member. I grieved, mourned & started buying magazines that reviewed the film & had comments from people just like me who were also grieving.

I found an advertisement for a club called Starfleet, joined & so began an adventure that has become a huge part of my life. It influenced me in a million positive ways & gave me the opportunity to eventually meet the entire original series Star Trek cast, with the exception of William Shatner. I was weekend host for many of them at RoVaCon Science Fiction conventions as vice president of the convention committee.

In 1984 I started a local Starfleet chapter. I found a number of people who shared my love of Star Trek & our chapter grew. We became a presence in the community & I became Regional Coordinator for an 8-state Starfleet region.

Our local chapter, Heimdal Science Fiction matured & as our members got older our focus changed a bit from just Star Trek. We became science fiction fans in the broader sense & developed a huge sense of community responsibility. We began adopting charities, which we supported through car washes & bake sales.

The club has been one that welcomes interested people & most of them stay with us for years. We’ve become a family. And as a family we’ve mostly grown older together & are not nearly as comfortable, physically, doing car washes these days. So in 2006 we began doing only one fundraiser a year – a huge Annual Public Charity Auction.

We canvas local restaurants & businesses for donations, have the auction in August & have been able, through the success of the auctions, to sponsor 10 charities at Christmas AND send a local middle school student to NASA’s Space Camp for a week each summer. We’ve become a credible, helping influence within the community.

After 31 years I’m still the club president. I don’t believe anyone really wants the position since we’ve become more business minded … as a 501 (c)(3) organization that files an annual tax return . I sort of thrive on the challenges so everything continues to be right in the universe (& beyond).

This is another one of those “long way around the galaxy to get to the starship” blog entries but I needed to give you some background.

We’ve been working on this year’s Annual Charity Auction for the past nine months. As the event is looming closer, we’ve begun our publicity campaign to get the word out about the event. We’ve recently done a public appearance in costume at a local library & our Public Relations Officer is sending out announcements to all the area newspapers. Having 260 fabulous auction items won’t do much good unless we can get the public to come to our event, so publicity is key.

Over the years I’ve been an occasional guest on the local TV talk show, Living in the Heart of Virginia for a number of reasons but especially to advertise our Annual Public Charity Auction. I’ve recently been on the show again advertising this year’s auction event.

I know Emily Robinson, host of Living in the Heart of Virginia. This year she had one stipulation for my being on the show. She wanted me to wear my Star Trek: Next Generation costume for the interview. While I enjoy wearing it, I prefer not to wear it when I’m discussing a serious subject, such as the auction. I’m always afraid my credibility might be compromised. But this year Emily said she would also wear a Next Generation costume & my husband generously loaned Emily his Vulcan ears to wear on the show & complete the illusion. It sounded like fun.

I met Emily & her videographer in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Downtown Lynchburg where we will be holding the auction & where Emily wanted to shoot the interview. I was wearing my Next Gen costume. True to her word, Emily was also wearing her Next Gen shirt & she immediately put on Willy’s pointy ears. Apparently we were fairly impressive because hotel employees came running with cell phone cameras to take our picture … a number of times… & even though it delayed the interview a little, it was a lot of fun.

The interview went off without a hitch. Working with Emily is a delight & we had a lot of fun taping the segment. I was sorry when it was over.

After I left the Holiday Inn & my LHOV interview, I stopped by Walmart. I needed cereal & a toilet seat (I know … that’s a strange combination).

Knowing how people generally show up at Walmart, I didn’t give much thought to being there in my costume; I figured I’d fit right in. If you’ve seen those “People of Walmart” pictures & videos you know exactly what I’m referring to & understand why I didn’t think a Star Trek costume would garner any particular interest or attention. I also took my auction advertising flyers into the store. At auction time, taking them with me is as second nature as carrying my purse. I want to get the word out to as many people as possible, hoping to increase the chance of a well-attended event.

WELLLLLL … the minute I walked through the door the greeter handed me a cart & said she knew I was from Star Trek because she recognized the uniform. I told her why I had it on & gave her an auction flyer, which she promised to put in the Walmart break room. Then she took several more because she has “friends who might want to go to a good auction.”

While all this was taking place a small crowd had been gathering. There were, by then, about 5 or 6 women of various ages standing around watching. Several asked for flyers & I gave them an explanation about the auction.

One woman asked, “What are you here for?”

“A commode seat,” I told her.

As she walked away shaking her head I heard her mutter, “It better be a turbo space seat …”

 I suddenly thought GOING where no one has GONE before … ” & laughed out loud, probably adding to the growing possibility that I was one of those “People of Walmart.”

 Throughout the store I got lots of stares & a woman with 3 kids … 2 in a shopping cart … followed me all the way to toilet seats & then lost interest.

After all the press Walmart gets about crazily dressed customers, I guess my Next Gen space suit was simply a flash in the pan; a lot of interest initially but a fairly rapid burn-out …………….

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6 Responses to “My Next Gen Uniform and Starship Walmart”

  1. Anthony Moshonas August 6, 2015 at 1:02 am #

    Very Funny Linda !!!! LOL.. I’ve heard of the “Walmartians” and seen a few but you take the cake .or should I say the spaceship…..LOL : )

    Like

    • heimdalco August 6, 2015 at 1:34 am #

      Thanks, Tony … not sure I want to be a Walmartian … LOL

      Like

  2. Willy Smith August 9, 2015 at 1:49 am #

    I’ll bet people talked about you the rest of the day and into the night where some fantasized about you taking them to the stars … with your toilet seat. HA!
    It’s a hoot being married to this girl and seldom a dull (awful dull) moment. We live our lives just like other people, complain about the dogs down the street constant barking and wondering if her little car will make it to 200 thousand miles. Anyway, you should see what she wears to the mailbox. Nuff said

    Like

    • heimdalco August 9, 2015 at 3:36 am #

      Too funny, Willy … now I have a vision of people in Walmart fantasizing about riding to the moon with me on my toilet seat. Which reminds me … isn’t that the neatest commode seat you’ve ever seen? Who would have guessed there was such a thing as a “soft close toilet seat” just like the kitchen cabinets? I LOVE it ….

      Like

  3. tomrains August 26, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    That’s awesome!! That picture is hilarious haha. I’m ready for a new Star Trek series!!

    Like

    • heimdalco August 26, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

      Thanks so much for your reply, Tom. I’m ready for a new TV series & looking forward to the next movie. Thank you again …

      Liked by 1 person

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