I'm sure I'm not the only Star Trek fan who woke up this week to learn René Auberjonois had passed away and felt . . .
Well, how to describe the feeling? I mean, I didn't know the man personally. Yet, news of the actor's passing made me feel sad. Lonely. Upset. Empty. I don't usually get this emotional when actors, singers, or artists in general pass away.
Usually, there's a moment of silence. A moment to recognise that a life that was once on Earth has left. A life I was aware existed, that touched mine through the art that they created, has gone. A bit of sadness knowing that. But again, it's not the same as when someone you know personally or intimately passes away. You know what I mean?
But the news of Auberjonois . . . it was different. It was more than an awareness, it was an emptiness.
Thing is, he played a character that I've loved since I was a kid. He had a long career with many different characters, but his portrayal of Odo on Star Trek Deep Space Nine is the one that had the greatest impact.
Odo was an important part of my life and Auberjonois had a part in that. He was responsible for that impact.
To put this into perspective: I loved Star Trek since I was nine, and my dad sat my brother and me down in front of the television to watch. It was part of our homework to study the episodes so we might grow into cultured, nerdy adults. I've know and loved Odo for most of my lifetime. I haven't even known my best and oldest friend for that long (sorry, Alysha, but . . . not sorry. You're a Trekkie. You understand).
Deep Space Nine is my favourite Star Trek. It's a series I watch when I'm sad, when I'm procrastinating (and just need one more YouTube clip before getting back to work), a series of stories I read when I'm eating alone at a restaurant.
Odo, that shapeshifter from Deep Space Nine, was one of my first crushes ever. Even as a young teenager, I had questionable taste in men. Not bad taste, just questionable. Questionable in the sense that having attraction towards a man who's essentially a bucket of goo invites questions.
Odo was funny, and had interesting, unique, relationships with everyone. His arcs with Quark made me shake my head and laugh. His relationship with Kira was unique, and made me feel warm and fuzzy when it finally happened. His relationship with Garak was complicated as all get out, and untangling how the two could work was a mental puzzle.
Still trying to figure it out.
If I were to make a list of all the Odo moments and episodes that meant something to me, I would end up naming half the episodes (at least).
Deep Space Nine is a piece of artwork that's woven into the fabric of my life, and Auberjonois was a part of that.
Even though I never met Auberjonois, didn't know him personally, or ever will, his career made an impact on my life. His life's work had meaning for me.
The character he played made me laugh, made me cry, made me believe in love, made my sympathise with someone different than myself, made me empathise with someone whose struggles were completely different than my own, and gave me enough food for thought to last a lifetime (ironic, since the character couldn't actually eat anything).
Even though I didn't know him personally, his work affected me in a personal way.
Thank you for the work you did.
Rest in peace, René Auberjonois
1962 - 2019