A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

MOON WALKING




Did you know that it is commonly perceived that Neil Armstrong’s first words on the moon surface were “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”? 

Well I'm sorry dear readers because what he actually said was “Wild Thing, you make my heart sing, you make everything — groovy”.
 
However, the watching millions back home were permanently denied this version of events following the discovery, just moments before air-time, that NASA’s entertainment officer had in fact forgotten to pay their performance rights licence fees, and so, in the face of the day’s copyright legislation, the “one small step” speech had to be quickly dubbed over instead.

On his return from his interplanetary exploits, the outraged Mr. Armstrong immediately left the space programme in disgust, and, after a brief spell with The Allman Brothers, settled back in Wapakoneta Ohio where he soon opened up ‘Neil’s Moon Shack’, a used guitar store, trading until the late ’80s when the market began to mysteriously decline. “I don’t blame synthesizers” said Neil rather amicably, “I think it was The Cure that were ultimately responsible. Young folk mistakenly came to associate the guitar with fat, mascara’d English panty-waists, and chose to follow Rap instead. And I can’t say I can particularly blame them.”

The ‘Performance Rights Licence Fiasco’ wasn’t the only misfortune to befall the Apollo 11 mission either. Irish rebel leader Michael Collins was seen to be left stranded in the orbiting mother capsule following an undisclosed dispute with NASA tailors, Ritblat & Son of Dallas, who deliberately withheld the Third Moon Suit pending the payment of the previously “agreed remuneration”. NASA never did settle the bill, and although the Ritblats retained the Third Moon Suit for their own purposes, the original sequins were subsequently removed, and later reappeared upon Elvis Presley’s Vegas jump suit.

Apollo 11 was not alone in their ‘Space Suit-Related Ructions’. On the following mission, Apollo 12 astronaut Charles Conrad Jr was to discover that, for the sake of just $5, Mrs Aldrin had declined the dry-clean option, and had in fact put her husband’s Moon Suit “in with the whites” at home (Tumble dried at 200 degrees Fahrenheit), thus irreversibly reducing the ill-befallen overalls in size. Consequently, during mid-mission on the moon, on stooping to collect various intergalactic geological samples, Conrad inadvertently split the ass out of the pants of his suit, (hence the verb ‘To Moon’). 

This instantaneously curtailed the whole mission as a television event for the viewers back home on Earth, as sponsors across the South, in fear of losing their hard gained family support, clamoured to withdraw all their funding. “It was like one of them Mexican films!” said one. And Charles Conrad Jr. never worked again because of it.

Thus, with the NASA space program now reduced to only one remaining space-suit, the Apollo 13 mission was to have featured only the lone Captain Jim Lovell walking on the moon; yet even this mission was to be dogged with misfortune as rookie pilot Kevin Bacon, (at the request of a rapidly balding, ginger haired director of operations best known for ‘happier days’) attempted to jettison human waste products from the ship. He keyed into the onboard computer a completely wrong sequence, and unwittingly occasioned a ‘blow-back situation’, while helplessly watching in horror as his colleagues were sprayed with ‘the living daylights’ within the confines of the inside of the capsule.

Desperate to make amends and somewhat rather foolishly, Bacon bravely ventured to alleviate the on-board methane levels with a naked flame, only to bring about a catastrophic explosion which effectively ended the whole mission; not to mention his career in space! (Tragically and perhaps quite poetically, Lovell never returned to the moon, yet managed to eke out a living promoting organic fertilizer in Texas, before becoming a ride technician at Disney’s Space Mountain.)

And so, completely suit-less now, and totally out of contract with RCA records, the 1960s ended quite bleakly for the American space program and NASA, who were to find that the 1970s, and the onset of Disco in particular, had become increasingly more difficult for them to handle.

Cue Micheal Jackson...


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