The Observer, Sept 2006
This Much I Know: William Shatner, 75.
Photograph by Chris Polk, during Shatner’s Roast
I’m in my seventies but I don’t feel my powers fading. I’m very physically active. My ability to memorise doesn’t appear to be any less. Opening a bottle of Perrier seems more difficult these days, but I’m not sure that isn’t those frigging French guys sticking the tops on tighter just to antagonise me.
A woman’s monthly cycle conditions her emotions to a fine degree. And men, too, have a hormonal cycle apparently, it’s just less evident. So relationships are like the solar system, where bodies are in motion in a variety of ways. There’s the 24-hour cycle, the monthly cycle, the yearly cycle – it takes a professional to plot and get it all in synch. Then there’s a four-hour delay at the airport and your marriage is ruined.
I haven’t waited in line for at least 30 years. I hear other people do it quite often. With me, there’s no doubt whether there’s a table or a ticket. People say, “Mr Shatner, come this way.”
I auctioned off a kidney stone for $75,000. The cast of Boston Legal added $20,000 that Christmas, and we gave it to Habitat For Humanity, who were able to build a home for a homeless family. That’s celebrity: totally absurd but actually quite good if you use it properly.
People who speak from certainty about what happens after death are mistaken. But I take the chance that my conversations with people who have passed away may be heard. It’s worth a shot. If they can hear me, then that opens the gates of heaven.
After three divorces, I’ve come to learn the necessity of empathy, sympathy, concern and generosity. All components that in their sum seem to make up the term “love”.
Whenever I’ve gambled I’ve lost. I’ve never made money that I haven’t earned.
I cry at the birth of horses. They come out in a diving position. From the instant you peel back that sac, the eyes are open and within minutes that baby is on its feet in an instinctive drive to find food. The miracle of life suddenly exploding into the world, and the mystery of a baby’s instinctual drive to seek the teat is to place you in awe of the world.
I have made a lot of money, and I’ve given a lot of money away. I don’t need anything. I buy an occasional horse and I sell an occasional horse. But I don’t need that horse. So I give my money to charity or to my family. I just want to give my children and grandchildren a leg-up.
If you value the person you’re with, you have to be aware of them all the time. That’s a duty in a relationship that I hadn’t figured earlier on. It’s like making love – it becomes deeper and more satisfying if your attention is on the other person.
I see a very difficult time coming for the world. Clean water and air are becoming rarer. If I could, I’d legislate more miles per gallon for cars immediately. Oil dependence is killing us.
When a new invention comes along and it helps mankind, it has embedded in it the seeds of destruction. Penicillin is a scourge because viruses are becoming immune to it. The internal combustion engine is destroying us. The elevators that allowed us to make buildings that go up instead of sideways have been part of the instruments of overpopulation.
You know what’s great? Para-motoring. You put a propeller on your back, with an engine and a parachute sail. You run like hell, yank the throttle and jump into the air. And you fly with the birds. It’s the most incredible experience. To fly!
Nobody can give advice. How dare they? Like they know what’s good for you!
I’m not going to space. No way, are you crazy? One little tile burns and you drop to your death? Anyway, one of the things you have to do is get used to weightlessness, so they put you on this plane called the Vomit Express, where they do outside loops. And I don’t like to vomit.