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Thursday, June 4, 2009

One Small Step

I was twenty four, pissed off and having an edgy visit to my parents' home in Dallas. The Army wanted my ass to fill a hole in Viet Nam. North Texas State University was becoming skeptical about my dedication to obtaining a degree from that storied institution. Sparks had been flying between me and my dad all morning, and Mom was sitting on the couch watching some sort of black and white news program on their color TV. Breaking the mood, she called our attention to the fact that "they" were landing on the moon.

I had been a science fiction reader all my literate life. Avid didn't cover it. I would have said exclusive science fiction reader, but I read a lot of Marxist political work. You should think that I would be super glued to the nearest boob tube bathing in the glory that was the future of mankind. Unfortunately I had come across enough real science and politics to know that this moon landing was just a cold war political stunt. A fantastically expensive, amazingly successful engineering feat, but a stunt nonetheless. In the whole Apollo program only one scientist went to the moon, and he was on the last trip. There wasn't going to be any traveling to the stars in my lifetime, or anyone else's if the astrophysicists are right. I say this in no disrespect to the efforts and dedication of the men, and few women, who made the stunt possible.

That was forty years ago this coming July, and I'm still pissed off, just about different things. Marx was as full of crap as Adam Smith, and we farm out our wars to high tech and willing subcontractors.

This anniversary will be the beginning of the boomer's slippage into the mists of history. Forty years is two generations, and even in the West that means the third in the pile is on the way out. Clear the decks for a generation with their own baggage.

I saw the moon landing live on TV. It could be the most important day in the history of mankind or fun fact remembered by trivia buffs. That status going to be up to generations to come.

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