My Day as a Vulcan
written by Britta Peterson, Fall, 1988
I am not Spock, but I would like to be. The closest I have come was last Halloween. Since fifth grade I have given myself a challenge to create a new and original costume each year, so last year I decided to be a Vulcan. I was not only planning to don pointed ears and a Starfleet uniform, though--I vowed to carry the costume through to its "logical" conclusion and actually show no emotion during the entire school day, no matter what happened around me. I also would speak like the famed Mr. Spock of the USS Enterprise, with the impeccable diction and impressive vocabulary of a true Vulcan. I had to have a name, so I chose "T'Leo," agreeing with the Vulcan naming system and having special significance since I am a Leo, and I decided to be Spock's sister. This was just the beginning of my meticulous concentration in creating details of my past and present life and my reason for taking Britta's place for a day. Also, so I would not be caught in a nonsequitor by other Star Trek fans at my school, I researched the established facts about Spock and his family. I was ready for any possible complications that might arise, but I never realized the extent to which people, including teachers, would go to force me to break character. As a result, I learned about others and myself concerning our reactions to a different situation.
At 7:00 a.m. my day as a Vulcan officially started as I walked into jazz band rehearsal. That was probably the most difficult time all day because I was just getting into my character, and I had to keep myself from showing emotion by tapping my foot while playing my baritone saxophone. Next, during Concert Band as I played my oboe, I suffered the unending teasing of my band director and fellow musicians. It was then that I realized there were different groups of people classified by their reactions to me: there were those who appreciated my costume and dedication and thought it clever, others who considered me crazy but enjoyed it, and those who paid no attention to me whatsoever. Since I was not reacting to anything around me, I was an objective observer and discovered that these groups corresponded with other already established groups. The first group corresponded to the high achievers in my honors classes, whom I have known since our freshman year through English, history, science, and math classes. It seemed as if intelligence was related to the interest somehow, or at least willingness to learn if not intelligence, for the majority just enjoyed my costume, and the minorities were on either end of the scale. I thought this observation was "fascinating," and I wondered if it was my Vulcan character creeping in. I definitely learned about human character and how different personalities react to a new situation that day.
After I had finally and successfully finished my day as a Vulcan, I realized that I had actually created another person through my sheer force of will power. This thought amazed me, though not because I did not know if I could control myself that completely. I have been in many situations in drama where I did not and could not break character for the sake of the show. Also, when singing or giving a piano recital, if a mistake is made, control must be kept so the audience will not be suspicious. For these reasons I did have confidence in my own determination, but it just had not occurred to me that it could manifest in such a concrete form. Everyone around me could tell whether I succeeded or not, so it was the ultimate challenge, as well as a fun position from which to observe people making complete idiots of themselves when they tried to get me to laugh. I ended up learning about myself along with learning about others.
My day as a Vulcan taught me about myself and others as well as the fact that I also had a good time. I knew beforehand I was going to enjoy myself, but I had not discovered what a valuable experience being T'Leo could be. Since I was an impartial observer, it was a change in viewpoint for me, and it is always beneficial to see the world in a fresh perspective. Also, by suffering through people pulling off my ears, attempting to tickle me, and making me wade through streams of illogic, I discovered that I could succeed at anything I attempt by using my own will power and other talents along with my intelligence. I look back on October 31, 1987, and I know that I succeeded in many ways during my day as a Vulcan.