In the mid-nineties there lived a teenager filled with angst. Every morning, he had to get up and go to a place where no one understood him. He read mystery novels from the sixties, and he spent quiet lunches sitting on the grass at school, contemplating life or reading whatever book he'd taken from the library. He tried to talk to people, but few ever talked back.
The adults around him didn't care much, either. Theirs was a world of rules and enforcement, not of love or compassion. They told him which areas of the grass he could sit on, where he could eat his lunch and how much time he had to do it. They told him when he had to be in class, and how he should behave when he was there. They told him why he had to come to school every day, even though he hated it, and they made sure he understood that there was nothing more important than the day's assignments.
Ah, but the boy had a secret life no one knew about. Every night, long after his parents and his sister fell asleep, the boy wrapped himself up in a blanket in the basement and turned on the TV, with the volume down low and watched re-runs of Star Trek: The Next Generation. After a friendless day at school, he finally found people he could relate to. On the bridge of the Enterprise, everyone listened to everyone else. Everyone contributed. They had rules, but sometimes they broke those rules for the greater good. They helped each other out in times of crisis, and they never ignored one another's problems. They spoke to each other with the greatest respect and kindness. When they did have fights, they resolved them civilly and intelligently. Every night, the boy got to turn on the TV and see the best of what human beings could be.
All too soon, morning came and the boy dragged himself out of bed, choked down breakfast, and headed out to the school bus stop, where kids would make fun of his hair, his clothes, the fact that he wore glasses, whatever struck their fancy that morning. He'd get on that big, smelly bus and ride to school, where adults chided him for not staying awake in class, not remembering the previous assignment, not having the right attitude.
The boy smiled and bore it, because he remembered Picard, Riker, Data, Worf, Geordi, Troi, Dr. Crusher, and the others. He looked around and saw a world that didn't believe in itself, but he thought of the Enterprise and knew what they could become, and what he might someday be.