There's a marker in Riverside, Iowa, declaring the tiny rural town to be the "future birthplace" of Captain James T. Kirk. Yes, that Captain James T. Kirk. The official town motto is "Where the Trek Begins." There's even a Star Trek Museum, the Voyage Home Riverside History Center. All of this apparently goes back to a book written by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, The Making of Star Trek, in which Roddenberry asserts that Kirk was — or, you know, will be — born in Iowa.
In 1985, a Riverside city council member who had read the book proposed that the council pass a resolution proclaiming Riverside to be the "future birthplace" of Captain Kirk. Roddenberry tacitly endorsed the claim and various books and movies in the broad extended canon of Roddenberry's fictional universe have mentioned either Riverside or Iowa. The Iowa birthplace trivia has become so embedded in Star Trek lore that it even bled over into the Trek homage comedy Galaxy Quest.
We're thinking about all of this today because March 22 is Captain Kirk's officially canonized birthdate, which means that everybody's favorite Star Trek captain is -214 years old today. Just think, a tree of the right variety planted today in Riverside might still be alive when Kirk's actual birth year of 2233 rolls around. Heck, there are even some tortoises that might be alive today and will still be around when the Kirk family gathers at some future hospital or birthing center to welcome baby James.
Believe it or not, March 22 is also the birthdate of Star Trek actor and famous Canadian William Shatner, who played Kirk in the original Star Trek television series, its animated follow-up series, and seven movies to boot. (We'll let you draw your own conclusions as to whether the timing of Shatner's nativity influenced the eventual selection of James T. Kirk's fictional actual date of birth.) By the way, if anyone out there has -214 candles, let us know. We'll bring the cake.
Official sources differ as to whether Captain Kirk ever got an IT certification, or just, you know, talked to the ship's computer whenever he needed something. What's not in dispute is that the fictional realm of Star Trek inspired a lot of people in our own realm of planet Earth to take an active interest in science and technology. That's a pretty cool thing, when you think about it. Don't stop dreaming big dreams, fellow IT believers, and we'll all build a better future together.
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