A while back, my dad supported something he was telling me by relating what happened in a Star Trek episode. (Mom has said that when she was dating dad, he used to talk to her for hours about Star Trek over the phone. She's a little surprised she married him after that. My mom does not watch TV.) I remember the sun coming in behind him through the sliding glass door. Dad sitting at our beat-up wood table, his eyes a little bit wider and more intense, like they get when he has something to tell you, which is... maybe more often than not.
Yesterday, I saw the episode he was referencing for the first time. Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Ensign Wesley Crusher are shipwrecked on an inhospitable moon, and they are dying of thirst, Picard especially so because he's been hit in the head by some rocks. As he's gasping breaths which may be his last, he gives Wesley some advice about the ensign's soon-coming entrance into Star Fleet Academy.
Picard: Make sure you get in touch which Mr. Boombi. He's been there, oh, forever. I gained a great deal of wisdom from him when I was in the Academy. He helped me tremendously.
Wesley: I will, sir. (Captain, you're not going to die!) What subject does he teach?
Picard: He's the groundskeeper.
(And out of a British Picard-admiring woman's mind Hagrid was born.)
I got a little choked up over this scene. What with the provoked memories of my father and his love of Star Trek and of watching recordings of early episodes on VHS tapes and of the unlikely circumstances surrounding my birth, how could I not get emotional? But even aside from that, something in the wise groundskeeper archetype appeals to me.
It might be the comfort and excitement in believing that a person's station in life is not indicative of his character. That the locations of good and interesting people are unknown and unguessed.
It's also a welcome counterpoint to the emphasis on Networking that I've experienced since graduating college. I think everyone seeks personal gain and rewards in friendships--in the case of the big N, career advancement--but I like that sometimes the most rewarding friendships can be the ones who offer no material advantage. My starship captain tells me so.