A “spocked” $5 bill (image via Facebook)

Canadians have been mourning the death of Star Trek‘s Leonard Nimoy by transforming $5 notes into portraits of Spock — or “spocking” them.

The practice of giving poor, old Wilfrid Laurier — who served as prime minister from 1896 to 1911 — the Vulcan officer’s crazed eyebrows and bowl-cut hair first began several years ago, after people noticed a slight resemblance between the two men.

But Nimoy’s death has spawned an unprecedented wave of spocking, with calls to join in being posted by trekkies across social media; the Canadian Design Resource recently asked its Twitter followers to “Spock your $5 bills for Leonard Nimoy.”


Another “spocked” $5 bill (image via Facebook) (click to enlarge)

Unfortunately, the humorless powers-that-be think things have gotten out of hand. “The Bank of Canada feels that writing and markings on bank notes [is] inappropriate as they are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride,” bank spokesperson Josianne Menard told the CBC.

Defacing public money is a time-honored tradition that spans the globe. In the US, for instance, banknotes have been used to advertise television series, transform presidents into pop culture icons, and even rally support for Occupy Wall Street. Why shouldn’t they also pay tribute to one of our most formidable fictional characters?

Fortunately, drawing on money is perfectly legal in Canada, unlike, say, Australia, where doing so can get you a two-year jail sentence. So, despite the stern words, spocking seems likely to live long and prosper — at least as long as Canadians can continue finding untouched old notes. Current $5 bills are printed on ink-resistant polymer paper.

Laura C. Mallonee is a Brooklyn-based writer. She holds an M.A. in Cultural Reporting and Criticism from NYU and a B.F.A. in painting from Missouri State University. She enjoys exploring new cities and...

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