I’ve always liked "Scotty," the Scottish engineer who operated the Engineering Room on the Starship Enterprise during the classic sci-fi TV shot "Star Trek." The actor who portrayed him, James Doohan, passed away today at the age of 85. His final wishes were to have his ashes sent into space like "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry. I hope his dream comes true. There would be no better place for a crew member of the Starship Enterprise to finally rest than with the stars. Scotty will be missed, but fortunately we will always be able to see him on "Star Trek" re-runs.
James Doohan made a special contribution my family during his lifetime. If it weren’t for him, I might never have started dating my wife. A long, long time ago, in a place far, far away, my wife and I met as students in college. We were good friends, and a few weeks after we met, we heard that James Doohan of "Star Trek" fame would be coming to campus to talk about his career and his role as "Mr. Scott." We decided to go see him at the main university auditorium. We never made it to the event, because on our way to the show we decided to stop and talk. And we talked. And talked. And we missed the start of the show, and we talked some more. And so we began dating. On the night that we were supposed to go on a friendly "date" to see James Doohan, we instead began dating. We’ve been together ever since that fateful night. So although I am sad to hear that he has passed away, because of him I also fondly remember that happy night when Scotty brought us together. It seems so long ago, yet the memory is still vivid in my mind.
Scotty was already advanced in age when my wife and I started dating. He was always a young-looking man and vivacious for his age. He lived not far from where we lived once, in Redmond, Washington, the home of Microsoft. I once thought about looking him up to say hello and let him know how he had brought my wife and I together, but I never did. I remember reading an article in the local paper several years ago, perhaps in 1999, announcing the birth of his youngest child. At the time he was already in his late 70’s. The child was apparently a complete surprise to him and his wife. I would be shocked too if I suddenly found out I was an expecting father at the age of 79! It’s sad to know that James Doohan will never be able to be there for the biggest events in his youngest child’s life.
So James Doohan, a.k.a. "Scotty," will forever have a special place in my family’s lives. He will always be remembered as one of the most lovable characters of the original "Star Trek" series. He’ll always be my favorite Starship engineer, and he’ll always be Scotty. Even if he’s Canadian.