He’s not really dead as long as we remember him.

— Dr. McCoy in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.

Leonard Nimoy

Like a lot of bookish, introverted kids I identified pretty closely with the character of Spock on Star Trek. Here was someone who felt the same emotions as the rest of us but kept them in check, always making decisions using his head instead of his heart (but still capable of friendship and love). When I was eight or so I announced that I was going to start emulating Mr. Spock: repressing my emotions in favor of cool rationality. I lasted only a couple of days before I decided that forcing myself not to smile wasn’t really that fun.

The attitude stuck with me, though, and if I’m not quite as rational as Mr. Spock I still hold him up as a role model. Leonard Nimoy’s character showed me that there was something to be said for a life lived in pursuit of scientific inquiry, being comfortable with the more primal side of your brain while never allowing it to drive your decisions. This example shaped my personality—or at least crystallized what was already there—and I think I am a better person for that. I thank Mr. Nimoy for taking this odd role so seriously and in so doing, helping me to be more comfortable with myself.