Everyone’s Gone to the Moon–NOT! A Look Back at July 20, 1969
If you are an Old Fart like me, you will never forget that day. While Apollo 11 was landing on the moon, I watched my brother play in a Little League all-star game. It was the most exciting baseball game at any level (including the minors and the Big Leagues) that I have ever seen. My brother’s team scored the winning run in Hollywood-like fashion in the final inning and won by the football-like score of 23-22. After the game, we treated my brother like he was the second coming of Mickey Mantle, and we smiled from ear to ear when he showed off his trophy. Unfortunately, sometime later, I had an argument with my brother and broke the trophy. Of course, my brother was hotter than George Brett during the infamous Pine Tar game in 1983. He punched me until I fell like Joe Frazier in his fight with George Foreman.
While the game was going on, a few fans listening on the radio cheered when Neil Armstrong hopped out of the space capsule, and said, “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” I don’t remember if I cheered for I was more interested watching the game and drinking a soft drink.
Later in the evening, my family and I huddled around the family televsion and watched the astronauts explore the moon. While my parents smiled, I was bored. It wasn’t as exciting as watching Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock battle the Klingons on Star Trek or even Dr. Zachary Smith on Lost in Space concoct another one of his malevolent hair-brained schemes to return to Earth. Eventually, I had some Tang like the space guys and headed off to bed.
In the aftermath of the moon landing, I thought by 2019, I would be getting on a shiny spacecraft like the Starship Enterprise and exploring the Final Frontier with Kirk and Spock. The film A Space Odyssey predicted in 1968 that an astronaut would have a truly far-out trip to Jupiter in 2001. And Lost in Space showed that about that same time, Earthlings had been wandering throughout the entire galaxy including Dr. Smith’s cousin, who looked and acted like a bad caricature of Colonel Sanders.
But no human was walked on the moon to the since 1971. And no one has yet to make a “small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” on any of the planets or even one of those pesky little meteorites in our solar system.
At least I did see an exhibit at the local library of moon rocks collected by the Apollo 11 astronauts. They didn’t look like the glowing greenish or purplish nuggets on sci-fi TV shows and movies. Instead, they looked like the brownish-gray minerals found in the American Southwest. Needless to say, I was disappointed.
So will we Ordinary Joes ever get a chance to see the Final Frontier up close and personal? Or will we have to be content watching satellites taking pictures of planets, Land Rovers exploring Mars, toilets clogging up on the Space Stations, and watching countless sequels to Star Trek and Star Wars?
I don’t know–the answer is in the stars. And like Luke Skywalker, may the force be with me should I go on a space odyssey.
Joe’s Maybe Memorable Quote of the Day
Fly me to the moon as long as I get to fly in first class.