I can’t be entirely certain, of course, but it’s very possible that I committed a Star Trek first, by having Mr. Spock utter the word “booger.”
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “Um, Ward? We’re gonna need a little more info, some proper context, and perhaps the phone number for your pharmacist.”
Okay, so here’s the deal: Last June, while I was in the midst of writing Elusive Salvation, Neil Shurley, one of the many people I’ve befriended thanks to the wonder that is social media, issued a challenge. Well, that’s a polite way of saying he called me out, in front of Twitter and everybody. To wit:
Well, what the hell was I supposed to do with that? I couldn’t very well walk away from something like this, right? Not in front of all those Twitterers. I had to answer this call, somehow. The trick was to find a way for Spock to be able to use the word in a context that was appropriate for his character and–honestly–Star Trek as a whole. I wasn’t writing a parody, after all; this was an officially sanctioned novel, with blessings and whatnot from CBS and Pocket Books. They weren’t going to let me get away with doing something silly just for the sake of being silly.
On the other hand, the story I was writing did call for Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock to journey to 20th century Earth, so perhaps there was some wiggle room in the Silly Department. I just needed to find the perfect way to pull all of this together.
Thankfully, there was Booger Hollow, Arkansas.
A one-time tourist stop, the town of Booger Hollow, AR is an all but forgotten entry in the annals of American roadside attractions. I visited the town back in the early 1980s, and the name has stuck in my head since that time. Don’t ask me why; my brain just works weird.
Skip ahead to this past Tuesday: Elusive Salvation is released, and Neil is one of several people who have acquired a copy of the book. It didn’t take long for him to reach out to me on social media, as something within the book’s pages had caught his eye:
All that remained was to collect my earnings. Neil made good on his part of the deal, and you can read his take on this little bit of unhinged nerdity over on his own blog.
I’m pretty sure this is not what the social media experts had in mind when they coach us about “building our author platform.” On the other hand, I got paid to make Mr. Spock say “Booger,” so whatevs.
If it ends up that I am indeed the first person to achieve this feat, rest assured I will do everything in my power to ensure this little factoid is included in whatever obituary someone eventually writes about me.
For my next trick? Adapting the original “Spock’s Brain” script for a new story, “Spock’s Booger.”