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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Maybe my place is in space

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

There was a time long ago I dreamed of being an astronaut. I wanted to go up into space, join the Rebel Alliance in their fight against Darth Vader and eventually become captain of the Enterprise like Captain Kirk. I loved the thought of space.

Of course then my dream was dashed when I learned that you have to be smart to become an astronaut. That and I watched the Challenger disintegrate in my sixth grade science class. I didn't want any part of space after that.

Now, over 20 years later, I realize that I was misled. I could have been an astronaut and I could have been a really good one. Forget the fact that I am afraid to fly and would lose a math competition against a 10-year-old. By today's standards, I would be overqualified to be an astronaut for NASA.

Let's review. In the past several months NASA has taken more hits than Lindsay Lohan's reputation. First there was the crazy astronaut Lisa Nowak who apparently drove 900 miles from Houston to Orlando wearing an adult diaper in order to avoid stops so that she could confront and attempt to kidnap a romantic rival. When police searched her vehicle, they found a BB gun, a new steel mallet, knife and rubber tubing.

I love my wife, but I sure won't wear an adult diaper so I can drive 900 straight miles for her. Not to mention this crazy woman is an astronaut. Surely she could have gotten on a plane to Orlando and gotten there much faster. And a great thing about planes is they have bathrooms.

Of course, things got worse for dear ole NASA when a report was released that found a pattern of "heavy use of alcohol" by astronauts before launch -- within the standard "bottle-to-throttle" rule. Two cases were described. In one case, after drinking heavily an astronaut was allowed to fly on a Russian spacecraft while another was cleared for a flight on the space shuttle.

And I thought I didn't have what it took to become an astronaut. I can drink just like anyone else. Although I have to admit I've never driven drunk so I might have some problems flying a space shuttle while intoxicated. Then again, I guess you don't have to worry about crashing into another car and killing somebody either. You only have to worry about crashing into a star or getting a millimeter off course, killing your fellow astronauts while destroying a billion dollar spacecraft. No big deal there, huh?

The topper for NASA came Thursday when it was disclosed that someone sabotaged a computer awaiting delivery by shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station. This disgruntled employee allegedly cut wires and inflicted other damage on the component.

Maybe this was another case of a love triangle, somebody drinking too much and trying to be funny or somebody upset they weren't getting their yearly raise, but regardless of the reasoning it will be an expensive sabotage. Of course, if I don't get my raise you had better believe I'm going to get even. Who knows, I might even misspell a word in my column on purpose. Now I'm sure there will be congressional hearings about the woes of NASA. You can bet that people will be bellowing for the days of role model astronauts like John Glenn and James Lovell.

That is where I come in. I am willing to be one of those role model astronauts. I'm not crazy about having to do any heavy math and I'm still not crazy about flying but I'm sure if I drink a few "beverages" before my flight I won't have any problems. You see, I'm already qualified to be the next great astronaut. Now if I could just find a light saber.

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