I just finished googling “Everest Paw Patrol Action Figure” because my three-year-old niece Ellie is obsessed with the show. Earlier this year I ordered all the remaining action figures I could find from the series when she received only two for her birthday and realized she could not recreate her precious adventures with so few. Now they went and introduced a new member to the Paw Patrol team, Everest. So new, they haven’t even produced an action figure for her yet, though Ellie recently told her mom not to worry, “Bee (her nickname for me) will get me one.”
If my recent Internet search is accurate I probably won’t be able to pull off that miracle anytime soon, but I will keep trying because I understand Ellie’s obsession. She loves Paw Patrol so much that her present hope is that they will produce an episode called “Ellie Saves the Day!” Who knows? As an idol of mine once noted, “There are Always Possibilities…”
When I was three, I would stay up way past my bedtime to watch the Starship Enterprise streak across my television screen and dream of exploring “strange new worlds” as a Starship Captain. I would sit on my backyard swing for hours soaring to those same new worlds.
When I grew older I secreted Star Trek novels and Best of Trek books under my bed because I feared friends would discover them and deem them too nerdy. Little did I know my brother was sharing my stash with fellow Trekkie, his friend Chris, and with that cat out of the bag we began attending conventions together, feeding a mutual obsession. It was at one such convention I discovered our own version of buyer’s remorse after spending $300 to a replica of an original series tricorder—you know that cool scientific contraption carried by Spock to take readings of alien life forms? At 15, it was the most I had ever paid for any one item and after making the purchase I felt nothing but guilt. That tricorder, however, has adorned many a Halloween costume, attended some Star Trek movie premieres, even been worn at a friend’s costume wedding. I think I got my money’s worth. Still, till this day Chris or my brother John can text me at a moment’s notice with the phrase “I have Tricorder syndrome” and I think, oh no, what have they gone and bought now?!
Last Friday both John and Christ texted me almost simultaneously, Chris, in Chicago, John, here in Vermont. “Did you hear about Spock?” both messages read. And, by now everyone has. The actor, Leonard Nimoy, who brought our beloved alien to life, had died. Facebook and Twitter were filled with tributes as fans everywhere tried to express what this actor and this character had brought into their lives.
Long before I was old enough to truly grasp a concept such as tolerance. I remember learning what it meant to embrace the differences in others and the uniqueness in myself through a fictional alien named Spock. I learned that what I valued, the things that make me happy, should not be hidden under a bed but shared with others and in so doing, broaden my world. I learned to embrace Tricorders and Paw Patrol Action figures because these things we see on TV that can seem so childish or frivolous can take us outside our tiny lives and reveal our biggest dreams.
I just hope Ellie doesn’t come home at 15 with a $300 Everest action figure. Then again, maybe that is exactly what I wish for her—to discover the value of her dreams and explore all the worlds where they take her. May these things teach her that one day Ellie can save the day!