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'What would Spock do?' How Leonard Nimoy helped me prosper

Appreciation: It's hard to be a stoic Vulcan when your favorite "Star Trek" actor leaves this galaxy forever. Bonnie Burton thanks Leonard Nimoy for inspiring us all to "live long and prosper."

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Hands up! How many of you can do the Vulcan salute? CBS

When I first learned that Leonard Nimoy, famed for his role as half-Vulcan, half-human first officer Spock of the USS Enterprise on "Star Trek," died Friday, I was stunned.

Nimoy has been such a constant in my life as a geek that I couldn't imagine this world, or any planet for that matter, without the legendary actor in it.

His role as the logic-driven Spock on "Star Trek" inspired me to learn about our solar system and astronomy in general when I was a little kid. Whenever I would lose my temper on the playground thanks to bullies and mean girls, I'd take a moment and think to myself, "What would Spock do?"

Granted, Nimoy was more than just a sage, pointy-eared sci-fi icon. The actor also hosted two of my favorite shows exploring unknown and unexplained phenomena (one of which was from way before "The X-Files" came along) with the shows "In Search of..." and "Ancient Mysteries."

Nimoy -- who died at his home in Los Angeles at 83 -- seemed to have a lifelong talent of being extraordinary. He was a great actor on both the original "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible" TV series, but he also directed, wrote and sang.

Nimoy released five albums, starting with "Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space," and appeared on four compilation albums as well: "Space Odyssey," "Outer Space/Inner Mind," "Highly Illogical" and "Spaced Out." I still love humming his geektastic ode inspired by "The Hobbit," "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins," released in 1967. Both his autobiographies "I Am Not Spock" (1975) and "I Am Spock" (1995) proudly sit on my bookshelf alongside my collection of handmade Tribbles.

I even travel with a spare pair of pointy Vulcan ears to wear for instant cosplay opportunities at conventions, parties and dinner dates. (Trust me, wearing Spock ears on a first date is a great way to break the ice, or at least know if you are compatible for future pon farr.)

I've been a sci-fi geek since birth -- growing up with a never-ending stream of "Star Wars," "Doctor Who," "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," "Red Dwarf," "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" and the original "Battlestar Galactica."

But there was always something unique about "Star Trek" that made me come back to it again and again as both a kid and an adult. I can give Nimoy's Spock full credit for my love for the franchise.

His unemotional, literal reactions to the people around him and the dangers he faced on the USS Enterprise made me strive to find order and logic in my own life. Nimoy's Spock was never completely unfeeling or cold, especially when balancing the human half of the character. Heck, Spock even liked cats.

Nimoy was once quoted as saying, "Spock is definitely one of my best friends. When I put on those ears, it's not like just another day. When I become Spock, that day becomes something special."

To be honest, he made all of our days special just by taking us on adventures in this galaxy and those universes that only exist in the vast imagination of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry. We were lucky to have Nimoy grace our lives with his acting, poetry, photography and songs. Logically, we all will miss him, terribly.

Nimoy's last tweet before he died seems like a perfect way to remember him not only as the matter-of-fact Spock, but also as a poet and artist.

"A life is like a garden," Nimoy wrote. "Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP"