Leonard Nimoy, the legendary actor who portrayed the science officer on board the Enterprise in television’s “Star Trek,” passed away Friday. Tributes to the actor and the man have been voluminous, heartfelt, and worldwide. In what may be one of the strangest forms of tribute ever, though, Canadians have taken to defacing (embellishing?) their $5 bills in what is being called “Spocking.”
CNN Money reported March 2 that Canadians have taken to sketching Mr. Spock’s famous bowl-cut hairstyle onto the bald head of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh prime minister of Canada. They leave enough lighter spacing to allow for the equally famous pointed Vulcan ear (singular, because Sir Wilfrid Laurier is pictured in profile on the $5 note). And they place some heavy upturned eyebrows just so — in order to provide that ever-questioning look so appropriate for the science officer of an exploration vessel. Some doodle Starfleet rank symbols on the man’s collar. But no matter how well-drawn or elaborate said artistic makeover might be, it has been designated as “Spocking” the currency.
And while some people are of the opinion that the defacement of Canadian monetary notes is illegal, it is not. However, the Bank of Canada says that marking up the $5 bill could shorten its life and/or result in its owner not prospering.
“Writing on a bank note may interfere with the security features and reduces its lifespan,” Bank spokeswoman Josianne Menard said in a statement, according to E Online. “Markings on a note may also prevent it from being accepted in a transaction. Furthermore, the Bank of Canada feels that writing and markings on bank notes are inappropriate as they are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride.”
But appealing to national pride and a sense of better bill maintenance probably won’t work. Spocking has apparently been around for some time. It’s been used as a bar pick-up routine for some time, Calgary artist Tom Bagley told The Canadian Press. He said he’s never heard of anyone going to jail over it but helpfully provided, for those in fear of spending time for the defacement, a way to circumvent devaluing the bill: use pencil and/or crayon, both of which are erasable.
It should be noted that Mr. Spock — that is, Leonard Nimoy — wasn’t even Canadian. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts. However, his senior officer aboard the Enterprise on “Star Trek,” Capt. Kirk (the irrepressible William Shatner) is. Canadian, that is. He was born in Montreal.