Walter Koenig

#1041: The Badge

Not everyone watches Grab A Stack of Rock with Mike and the Mad Metal Man (though you certainly should!) and some of the tales told deserve a re-telling.

In 1991-1992, I got seriously into Star Trek: The Next Generation.  There were a lot of reasons.  I was now in university, and there as always a stereotype that university intellectual types all watched Star Trek.  I liked that and went for it.  Gene Roddenberry’s passing certain revived my interest, as did the final Star Trek film with the original cast, The Undiscovered Country.  With the original having taken their final bow, it was a pleasant surprised to see Leonard Nimoy return as Spock on the two-part TNG episode “Unification 1 & II”.  Like anything else I find myself suddenly interested in, I bought all the manuals, model kits, and collectables I could get my hands on.  I shaved my sideburns with the Starfleet delta shape, per regulations.  I was always a fan, but now I was a Trekkie.  Not Trekker.  I find that word cumbersome.  Trekkie.

Walter Koenig (Chekov) did a few appearances on the Canadian Home Shopping Network selling overpriced Trek goodies.  We were glued to the screen the whole night.  Koenig was always one of the most fan-friendly of the original cast and you couldn’t help but like him.  The network were hawking stuffed Tribbles, phasers, communicator badges, and all sorts of Trek goodies.

The badges were the TNG style, and you could get them in two ways:  with a soundcard that made the familiar trilling sound when you tapped the badge, or a cheaper version without.  Our parents relented and bought my sister and I each a communicator.  We didn’t even want the soundcard.  We just wanted the pin.

Four to six weeks later, the overpriced pins arrived and we were thrilled with them.  They held secure to your shirt or jacket, and looked legit.

Dr. Kathryn struggled with math at school, and needed a boost of confidence for her exam.  We both wore our badges to school that day.  I told her, “Pretend you can talk to me any time you need math help.”  A small thing but helped her combat the nerves.

Star Trek, always a source of positivity in this world.