Friday, June 07, 2024

I wanted to be a spaceman


Hey, Mother EarthWon't ya bring me back downSafely to the sea?Around and around and around and aroundIs just a lot of lunacy

--Spaceman, Harry Nilsson 

I grew up watching the space program grow from Mercury to Gemini to Apollo. And the astronauts were my heroes. I watched Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. And then it all seemed to fade into "Meh."

Not necessarily for me, but once Neil walked on the moon the other missions seemed to be anticlimactic. 

There have been a few rock songs about astronauts. There was "Space Oddity" by David Bowie in 1969 around the time of Apollo 11.  "Rocket Man" by Elton John and "Spaceman" by Harry Nilsson came out in 1972. There was "Major Tom (Coming Home) by Peter Schilling in 1983. And there was "Man on the Moon" by R.E.M. in 1992. But it was more about Andy Kaufman than astronauts. 

I  liked all of them. But they all had a common theme that the astronauts sacrificed a great deal to do what they did and then everyone kind of forgot about them.

It is kind of a them about life in general. No matter how famous you become, eventually you are forgotten. It just takes longer to forget a famous person than it does to forget about the millions of common people who are only famous to the immediate circle of their friends and family.

Even those who tried to cheat anonymity by building monuments to themselves became obscure. How many of you can name the Pharaohs who built the great pyramids. Ironically it was King Tutankhamen  who achieved relative eternal fame and he was basically a nobody during his time as Pharaoh. It was only discovering his tomb that made him famous.

It's funny though, how people do impact your life and become immortal in their own sense. I had a British friend who I met because he married a good friend of mine from my youth in Idaho. I went to their wedding in England in the 1990s. He was a fascinating person and very British and he taught me quite a bit about British humor (or humour as they would spell it). I remember when I first met him he shared this cartoon he found amusing that showed a walrus on an ice flow who had just eaten a seal. The caption read, "I was feeling a bit peckish." My British friend thought it was hilarious. I didn't even know what the word "peckish" meant at the time. But eventually I got the humor. And it stuck with me every since. 

I lost track of my friend and his wife (who was my original friend). I  found out several months ago that he passed on several years back. I reached out to his wife (my original friend) and we reconnected. But I do miss her husband.  So I created this design based on that cartoon he shared with me years ago and added my own twist on it. But here it is Simon, thanks for teaching me about subtle humor.


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