Today is the fortieth anniversary of the original moon landing, and much attention, including this reporter's, has been forced to remember a dark chapter in this country's history, a time when we all took the easy way out.
In 1961, a person of moderate importance suggested that, by the end of the decade, we not only could, but should, put a man on the moon. Two years later, that person was shot and killed for their arrogance, among other things. However, other persons of more importance and arrogance took this person seriously, and in July of 1969, not one but two mans had been put on the moon.
Though this achievement was singularly and solely achieved by the United States of Achievement, it was somehow seen as a victory for the rest of the planet, who had nothing to do with it, and possibly other unknown planets, who were rooting for us all along. It was seen by everyone who owned a television set, and possibly a few who did not.
We continued to visit the moon for three more years, bringing it news of our accomplishments, like going to the moon.
And then, in 1972, we stopped visiting, forever.
Why would we do such a thing? The moon was ours, primed to become the fifty-first state. We might all be living there now, in spacious yet affordable moon huts, eating tasty and nutritious moon foods, and generally living the way the framers of the constitution intended. Why then, I ask you, person over there, are we not?
"Because it was just so damned easy", says Man Who Ought To Know.
He was right, as all Americans are, and as all Americans know, if it's easy, no matter how beneficial, it just ain't worth doing. It is the reason we constantly find ourselves in random and unending armed conflicts around the world: it is very, very difficult, and therefore, worth every dead soldier, civilian, and piece of ordinance. Space travel, like world peace and unlike war and bipartisan politics, is so very, very easy.
Though it was very, very easy, no one will deny that the space race was good for one thing: keeping people who are different from us in their place. The Russians knew who was calling the shots in space in the sixties*. Every time they outshone us, and we struggled and then mostly failed to keep up, every Ruskie scientist and Commienaut was shaking in their whatever the Russian word for boots is. It kept their rockets aimed at the sky, which is not where America is at all, and certainly not where we kept our precious fluids and things we didn't want blown. Now, that is difficult.
It took only eight years from that insane, unimportant person's first double dog dare to Neil Armstrong's first bootprint, to get to the moon. That's nothing to write home about. In eight years, George W. Bush started a war he couldn't possibly finish, guranteeing the next five presidents will have to deal with it's ramifications. Why, in 2007 alone, America's spending on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was the same as the entire Apollo 11 mission, roughy $150 billion**. It should be obvious which investment has had the biggest returns.
Scientists and time travel enthusiasts also tell us that things were done with much more ease in general back in those days. "Everybody knows that things happened with much more ease back in those days", says Jack Turgid, local farmer, who is dead. He is absolutely right, even more right than certain professionals who's job it is to always be right. There were no computers or Twitter back then to keep you informed. One had to keep themselves up to date by a process called reading, which has been proved to be unnecessary. Things that are easy and awe-inspiring are threats to the American way of life. Things like war and crushing financial dependence are what made America great, and in this current and critical climate can only make America greaterer.
Even Neil Armstrong, father to bicycle overlord Lance Armstrong, says he wishes he never went to the moon***.
There are many things we could have in our lives if we were to once again adopt an easy going attitude of across the board, nonpartisan human progress and peace: flying cars, food-pills, tubes that speedily transported you from country to country, peace, love, perpetual renaissance of the human spirit, and other things only the dumbest children believe in.
The age of easily going to places in outer space no one's ever gone to before and discovering awesome, existence changing things is long over and dead. It was all just some absurdity fueled fever dream, mass psychosis tramping towards deranged betterment for us all. Easy-peasey-lemon-squeezey. It was something we deluded into happening, and it did, sort of, in a studio in beautiful downtown Burbank.
*We were calling the shots. And possibly the Space-Crocodiles of Swamptron.
Adjusted for Now-Time Dollars. In Back-Then Dollars, it was roughly $25 billion.
*The actual quote from Mr. Armstrong was: "The moon is a lady of easy pleasing, and I have had my fill. Oh how I have had my fill." Mr. Armstrong then stared off glassy eyed into the corner, and demanded the room be cleared so that he could "prepare for launch." He then winked suggestively several times at a female assistant,then fell asleep.