Should I be mad at Bill Shatner because he skipped the funeral of his long-time "friend" and Star Trek co-star, Leonard Nimoy?
I don't think so. And here's why.
Not because I pity Bill.
Not because Bill was at a charity function on the other side of the country and neither transporter nor shuttlecraft could possibly move him to the funeral in time.
Not because he'd need to corral a private jet and pay the big price tag (which Paramount could have provided gratis in a heartbeat, no doubt).
Here's why I'm not mad at Bill:
Because Bill wasn't as close a friend as he says, and he certainly wasn't as close a friend as we all imagine.
The friendship we picture between these two men lives in our minds and hearts, not in their real lives. They are actors and perhaps Shatner has proved this above all:
Acting a friend is always easier than really being one.
And that's why real friends are so scarce and acquaintances (and co-stars) are so numerous.
Picture Nimoy's funeral: As far as the eye could see, there were his friends.
From the perspective of Nimoy's real friends and family, what could be less desirable than the Captain beaming in at the last minute in a grand entrance staged for the TMZ cameras?
So I say to all of us who would have expected Shatner to be front and center, remorseful and respectful, present and accounted for: Wake up and smell the coffee. Bill doesn't really care that much about Nimoy. They weren't really that close after all. It was a job, and Bill was playing the part.
Bill wasn't kidding when he uttered these immortal words on SNL back in the '80's:
I'd just like to say... GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show! I mean, look at you, look at the way you're dressed! You've turned an enjoyable little job, that I did as a lark for a few years, into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!
To Bill it really was "just a TV show" even if was much, much more to you and me.
And to the friends and loved ones at Nimoy's funeral, it was much more, too.
What they lost need not be sullied by the presence of folks who act like friends.
So let's leave Shatner alone.