Ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll learn something from what they say. Doctor—ambitious. Athlete—sporty. Policeman—likes guns and power. Lawyer—well, no kid has ever dreamed of being a lawyer. But one answer speaks louder than any other: astronaut. Astronaut says “Screw your ‘world’ and its ‘jobs.’ I’m going into goddamn space. Even though nobody I’ve ever known has ever known has ever done this professionally, and even though I can name no more than three astronauts, ever, I am going into outer space.” It’s a bold move.
And so, I was taken aback to learn that in this continuing fiscal crisis, NASA is facing a shortage of astronauts. This is exciting news, people. I mean, who wouldn’t want to become an astronaut? Do you feel that tingle? It’s the part of you that used to feel–you know, really feel–and it’s telling you that it’s never too late to give up on your dreams. Your irrational, unachievable dreams.
Everything is inherently more interesting when you add astronauts. There’s literally no mundane social activity that is still boring when an astronaut is involved. Yeah, I’m in a book club. We just read The Nine. Oh, no, you can’t join, it’s an astronauts-only book club. I play fantasy football with my astronaut friends. I’m going to drive across the country in a diaper to win an astronaut’s affection. And so on.
As it turns out, most of the current stable astronauts have a background in aeronautics or astrology, and it the whole organization seems to be the people who went to MIT but weren’t quite smart enough to figure out how to take down casinos or become online pimps. So, that’s unfortunate for the rest of us. But what about my vague recollections of the astronauts of yesteryear as being regular, common men?
Not so much.
Buzz Aldrin was third in his class at West Point with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Neil Armstrong has a degree in aeronautical engineering. Among the famous ones, only John Glenn is without a college degree, and well, he flew planes in World War II, then added another 90 flight missions in Korea for good measure. He also won the Distinguished Flying Cross five times. I don’t know what that is, but it sounds very impressive.
Nevertheless, this is a great job opportunity, and if any of you know anyone in the astronaut biz, put in a good word for me. I promise I’ll work hard, show up on time and never get helmet hair or its unfortunate cousin, zero gravity eyebrows.