Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Good Luck, Mister Armstrong

"Good luck, Mister Gorsky!" These words were supposed to have been spoken by Neil Armstrong after he had taken his first stroll about our moon's surface, climbing back into his lunar module, or LEM as we space geeks referred to it. As a space geek, I never bothered much with the Mister Gorsky quote. I was more impressed with the presence of mind Neil showed as he remembered that the mikes and cameras were on as he dropped off one of the spidery legs of that odd looking craft where no man had gone before. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." The chance that all those other satellites and probes that had gone before hadn't picked up on the voracious man-eating spores that awaited those first steps, or the way the crust was just a thin layer which would swallow up a figure of just that particular mass and density couldn't have been playing in his ear as he hopped into history. The fact that he misspoke his scripted lines by an indefinite article or if that "a" was lost somewhere in the 238,857 miles between the Eagle and Mission Control is inconsequential. Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon.
I'm sure it pained Michael Collins to be left up in the Command Module, looking down on all that fun, and Buzz Aldrin had the relative distinction of being second. Everyone watched. It was the only time I can remember that my father cranked up the generator at our mountain cabin to make enough electricity to run a TV. We watched with fascination along with the rest of the world. Sure, the Russians were probably gnashing their teeth, but there was no denying what they saw. That came later.
I suppose we can all thank Neil for being that clever, brave, or foolhardy for taking that chance for all of us. He wasn't turned to dust or chased away by sprites. He kicked up some dust, collected some rocks, and came home. And he made Mister Gorsky very happy. I hope he enjoys this trip into the unknown just as much.

1 comment:

Krs10 said...

If you say 'em out loud and kinda fast, they sound the same:

"One step fer a man"
"One step fer man"