The Wide Angle: Willing to scream for your entertainment

Published 5:52 pm Friday, October 8, 2021

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Rich people are going into space.

After Rich Man No. 1 and Rich Man No. 2 successfully reached space earlier this year using their own Rich Man-developed rocket ships, now it’s been reported that William Shatner, at 90-some winters, is heading up to space.

And I say, “Big deal.”

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Not to be sarcastic about the reaching space part, though. Legitimate astronauts have been doing it for years, leading the way for grounded scientific research as well as exploration for years.

That part has been exciting. I personally love all of that kind of news, but when overly rich people take their millions for joy rides, it loses its luster. Nothing much was accomplished. Weee … look at the people floating about a tiny capsule for a few minutes.

Now, space tourists can fork over huge amounts of money per ticket, just so we can watch the wealthy do things the rest of us can’t do.

Not that I’m bitter or anything. I just think there is a better way to do it and at the very least, why can’t we send Patrick Stewart? He was a far better Star Trek captain then Shatner.

I await your letters of derision Star Trek buffs.

As I said, there are better ways to do it. Send schmucks like myself into orbit.

I don’t take up a lot of space so I’m fairly cheap and yes, it would be more impactful. What would you rather watch? A bunch of entitled rich people grinning from ear to ear or watching a grown man scream all the way into orbit?

I thought so.

Much like skydiving or bungee jumping, I’ve spent long hours wondering if I could follow through with my desire to be put on top of a really, really expensive bottle rocket just to be sent into space.

For years I’ve gone back and forth on the skydiving idea; thinking one minute that I would like to try it, followed by the next more rational minute where it dawned on me that jumping out of a plane isn’t conducive to active living.

My cousin Ben Johnson, who doesn’t believe me when I tell him he’s my favorite cousin (something about apparently I tell my other cousins the same thing. Preposterous.), has been skydiving and highly recommended it. With that mind, today I’m thinking I would like to try it.

Check back tomorrow for when I inevitably change my mind.

The same goes for bungee jumping, though I consider that a little more on the dumb side. I’ve snapped my thumb trying to shoot a rubber band before. What makes you think I would like to strap an even larger rubber band to my feet and jump off a cliff?

It’s all an existential mindset of whether or not I’m truly living or not.

And now we circle back to whether or not I would like to be shot up into space and I think, absolutely I would like to be shot up to space.

You can always skydive again or bungee jump again, but heading into space is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and even if something goes wrong, I still have the chance of being played by Tom Hanks in a biopic of a handsome journalist heading into space for adventure and glory.

Or me. Handsome might be too much of a qualifier. Maybe that kind of  stuff works for Anderson Cooper, but not me.