After one of my supervisors made the observation that a particular dreaded task "wasn't a favorite," I found myself responding, "Like Tasha Yar at a Star Trek convention."
If you're not a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, that line--I hesitate to even give it even so grand a label as "joke"--may make no sense whatsoever. But the thing is, I'm not a fan of the show myself. I don't think I've ever seen an episode all the way through.
And yet, I know how widely reviled the character Tasha Yar is, almost as little-loved as Wesley Crusher, and I know both of them vanished fairly early in the run of the series. I know what the Borg are, who Q is, and the Riker's Beard Rule. I even know the episode The Naked Now carries the same status in fan circles that Spock's Brain holds in the original Star Trek, an episode so astonishingly inept and misguided it seems incredible that it was ever produced. And I know this about Spock's Brain even though I'm no fan of the original series, either.
I just sort of acquired all this knowledge somehow, and I suppose it's held in the same part of my brain that knows of the existence of Leighton Meester, that can conjure lyrics to more than one Lady Gaga song, that remembers the exact layout of the set from Match Game and can recall the shock when Fannie Flagg appeared one week not in the lower right spot on the panel but instead on the left.
Of course, I remember that last part mainly because Mom and Dad seemed so surprised when it happened, as if the shifting of a minor celebrity's position on a game show panel somehow threatened the very fabric of their being. And the odd--Is odd the right word? Maybe terrifying or profoundly sad would be better--thing is, this is as much a defining memory of my parents as any I have. Many details of my life with them fade from my brain, but I remember how much they liked Match Game.