He worked here and there before the accident in Burnside. A dishwasher. A background film actor. There used to be plenty of gigs in Halifax for background artists, and he had even met the likes of John Stamos, Peter Falk, James Brolin and Tom Selleck but was never allowed to collect their autographs. If it wasn’t against the rules, then it’s fair to say that Rick Hartling would have asked.
In the warehouse there had been pallets. On top of one of them there was a pipe, 800 pounds of metal. An accident. Hartling bumped into it. The pipe fell onto his upper thigh, rolling down the length of it killing nerves and kneading muscles like bread dough beneath a rolling pin.
That was before he moved to Pictou County.
He worked at the Convergys call centre until it closed in 2015. He had to sell his collectibles. Mostly Star Trek. In Hartling’s opinion he didn’t get near what they were worth.
But he still has his Doctor Who stuff.
And with the help of the library’s 3D printer he’s rebuilt what looks like the entire Federation Starfleet, plus a few Romulan and Klingon warbirds. They line the shelf in his living room, arranged by height, type and vessel class. He never sold any of his Dr. Who collectables.
His partner lives a few doors down the hall from his apartment. She’s a collector too, likes Beatles memorabilia.
Life deals you things,” he says. “You never know when things are going to happen.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this article had the incorrect date that Richard Hartling was separated from his wife. He divorced in 2008. We apologize for this error.