Daily Archives: March 29, 2015

So What the Heck WAS Spock Looking At, Anyhow?

[Ed. Note: This post is going to be a little on the self-indulgent side — okay, a lot — and all in service of a punchline that’s probably not nearly as funny as I think it is, so I apologize in advance.]

I really like the current look of my blog, with one exception: when you’re looking at the home page, with its long scroll of recent entries, there’s nothing to indicate whether anyone has commented on any of those entries unless you actually go into the individual entry page. Consequently, I wonder if people don’t realize there’s more going on “in the back room,” so to speak, and are missing out on things that get said there. (Not that there’s ever much going on back there these days; Simple Tricks isn’t quite the happening place it used to be, sadly. A topic for another time perhaps.)

In any event, there was an exchange in the comments on my last entry, the one about running across the tribute to Nimoy in the report I was proofreading, that I thought was pretty funny and ought to be more widely seen.

Basically, after I remarked that the tribute wasn’t such a surprise after all, given that the report’s writers were IT people (i.e., nerds), and that Nimoy had made quite an impact, my friend Jaren came back with, “The grouch in me thinks that his impact on IT will be minimal until we figure out just what he was looking at in his blue monitor box on the bridge. And until I get one myself.”

What Jaren is talking about is, of course, the viewing device that Spock was frequently seen examining at his bridge station on the original Star Trek, which I would say is probably one of the iconic visuals of that series, right up there with the Enterprise firing her main phasers:


As Jaren suggests, we never saw what it was Spock was looking at in there, or what this viewing device did that was any different or better than a simple monitor screen built into the console would be capable of. It was presumably some sort of computer interface or radar-type scanning scope (or both), as Spock would look into it and then recite some useful information. (Remember, the original series was made at a time when CRT-style monitors were enormous things, and nobody had any idea what an actual computer interface looked like anyhow, so I imagine this little personal viewer thingie must’ve seemed pretty futuristic.) But we never actually knew.

This has led to a lot of mildly risque jokes over the years about Spock surreptitiously watching dancing girls, old-fashioned peep shows, or even out-and-out porn (and this started years before watching porn at work became a real-world problem– once again, Star Trek predicted the future!). There’s even a clever (but in my opinion too long and kinda tedious) YouTube video suggesting that Facebook still exists in the 23rd century… and is as big a distraction as ever.

But I believe all these theories are completely up in the night. Like I told Jaren, we all know what he’s really watching in that thing, don’t we?

Yeah, okay, too much setup for something that maybe isn’t that funny. But hey, it amused me. And after the day I’ve had today, and the week I anticipate having starting tomorrow… well, I’ll take whatever amusement I can bloody well get…