April 21st, 2011
Dear Houston: A Space Odyssey
Is Houston not getting a retired shuttle really that big a deal?
For my first trick, I will reply without using the buzzword “snub” or the phrase “Houston, we have a problem.” You’re welcome. Anyway, not to be noncommittal to your inquiry, but I’m of two minds about this. Follow me on this adventure of multiple personalities:
Head Voice A: Cool your jets. While Rep. John Culberson used the whole ordeal as an opportunity for some alliterative grandstanding, calling the situation “truly tragic,” at the end of the day, I’m not really offended. Dolphin taxidermy, The Little Fockers and having to tip at Luby’s? Definitely tragic. But only giving me a couple of seats from a shuttle flight deck, when I’ve had the Disney Land of space exploration sitting in my backyard for years now, isn’t a reason to blast off. The London Bridge fell down and moved to Arizona a long time ago and Yankee Stadium was hacked up and sold world-wide, but that doesn’t mean those objects are disassociated entirely from their respective origins.
The grand tour of NASA is still a junior high rite of passage. It’s me that made astronauts sexy again with a good old fashioned love triangle. Most of my sports teams are named something cosmological in nature. People aren’t going to stop thinking of me when they think of the Apollo missions just because of this media-proclaimed “snubbing” (using that word in quotation marks doesn’t count). Whining about it just makes me look like a sissy, so let D.C., L.A., New York and the Kennedy Space Center eat their cake. Everyone knows who baked it.
Head Voice B: What a load of crap. When Armstrong discovered that the moon wasn’t made of cheese, but pure, Colombian cocaine, I was the first person he called. And when Apollo 18 discovered that the rock was swarming with man-eating parasites, who do you think helped cover it up? I’m hesitant to lean on theories of political posturing, because if we would really plop a 100-ton space shuttle in a museum somewhere to buy votes, consider my faith in our pristine system of government shaken to the core (Cricket chirps).
If this whole shuttle thing really is just a big, figurative stump speech, I’d like to remind you, Mr. Obama, which way Harris County leaned in 2008. I’m sure that many of NASA’s 3,000-plus employees were part of the very same voter group that put you over the top in our county that year. I’ve done more than my fair share of the cosmic chores since 1958, and while all the other wives are getting diamonds for mostly sitting around on their asses, looks like I’m getting a trip to Chili’s and a vacuum cleaner. Thanks.
So, Dave, you’re clear on my stance this month, right? Yeah…me neither.
Still in orbit,