During my recent appearance on SOFREP Radio, I said something that wasn’t true. No, I don’t mean accidentally calling Rich Froning (Crossfit Champion) Rich Franklin (former UFC Champion) though I did do that too… I mean when I said that I was a “late blooming” nerd that embraced things like Star Trek as an adult, once I was certain my tough guy resume had enough bullet points on it to keep my ego intact throughout my twilight years. The truth of the matter is, I was always a nerd, I just used to hide it.
I grew up playing sports, hanging out in locker rooms and picking fights like the sort of punk that so often ends up enlisting into the U.S. Marine Corps – but when I wasn’t trying desperately to convince the world that I was a big tough guy, I was home on the couch, drinking hot chocolate and watching re-runs of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I knew admitting that at school wasn’t going to win me any tough-guy accolades or girl’s phone numbers, so I usually just left that part out of casual conversation, intent instead on convincing the world at large that I was the sort of brooding tough guy I so hoped they saw me as.
Now, as an adult, I did find a renewed passion for the shows that so enraptured me in my youth: above the fireplace in my living room, there hangs an oil paining of Brisco County Jr. and his faithful horse comet – the wild west bounty hunter that taught me that there didn’t have to be a difference between being a tough guy and being a well educated one. My years watching the X-Files still informs my approach to some content I cover here at SOFREP to this day – but no single fictional character has had a greater impact on the man I became – the Marine I became, than the Captain of the Federation’s flag ship, NCC 1701-D Enterprise: Jean Luc Picard. And I don’t just mean because the man handles being stabbed through the heart like this… but I do have to admit, seeing this as a child left a lasting impression.