Memoirs of a Do-It-Yourself Astronaut

Once, when I was wee, Dad took me to the Museum of Science and Industry. The M of S & I, if you have never had the pleasure, is an institution rich not so much in tradition and wide-eyed wonder as in wall-to-wall Lite Brite computer display mock-ups and swirling tornadoes of ball bearings and dimes. It was here, in a cozy gift shop stocked with Jovian bouncy-balls and space shuttle harmonicas, that I first fell head over heels in dirty, dirty love with the idea of space travel.

But this was no mere boyhood crush, and I made myself a promise more sacred than a Bombay moo on Easter Sunday: I would become the world’s first DIY-astronaut.

My dreams came to fruition just four months ago when, amid all the bustle and fanfare Mom and a space shuttle harmonica could provide, I finally blasted off, out of my backyard and into the history books. It was a pretty exciting day, so perhaps it is understandable that I forgot to empty my bladder before launch. A bit less understandable was my decision to stop on the moon for a bathroom break.

What had momentarily slipped my mind was that I had jettisoned my only booster rockets about 400,000 miles back (give or take), and with neither gas station nor Jesus Christ in sight, I was stuck.

And so the brilliant if troubled career of the world’s first DIY-astronaut came to an end. However, on that same day, so began the epic saga of the first ever American Ambassador to the Moon.

Memoirs of a Do-It-Yourself Ambassador to the Moon

My inaugural act as Ambassador to the Moon was to start a collection of moon rocks. By now it has ballooned into a mountain blotting out sun, earth, and will to live alike, which is to say that it’s gotten pretty big. I keep it next to my moon dust collection. This, in turn, I keep next to my moon air collection. There’s not much to collect here on the moon, although as rocks go, moon rocks are about as kick-ass as they come.

My second act as Ambassador to the Moon was to find a friend, but my friendship collection (which I keep next to the withered, neglected husk that once was my heart) is still holding steady at zero. It’s not for lack of trying; I was a man possessed by a need for human contact. Anything would be preferable to solitude. Even some sort of primitive lunar troglodyte would do. Really, as cavemen go, moon cavemen would be by far the best. With rocks like these, how could they not be? Rocks aside, even, all other things being equal, the caveman who can leap thirty feet into the air is about a bajillion times cooler than the caveman who cannot.

This one time I built a raft. I’m pretty stupid.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you, the accursed earthlanders who I want desperately to die. Let’s talk about that.

Every time I see Italy pass overhead, I throw a rock as hard as I can, straight up. Usually it comes back, but sometimes I throw it strong enough to escape the moon’s gravitational field, and I like to think that the rock makes it all the way to Italy without intermediate incident, crashing into some ancient architectural treasure or kindly old man in a smoldering fireball. If I ever figure out how to get back to earth, I’d like to know exactly what and who I was responsible for destroying. I hope it’s a lot.

You’re next.