|Astronaut Receptionist Training|
By 1961 Neil Armstrong had been a test pilot flying faster than the speed of sound for several years, and I was still asking the kickball pitcher to roll it Slow and Smooth so that I would not be knocked over at home plate. It is worth noting that prudence is a virtue in space travel. I was already beginning to sense my powers. For instance, merely by stepping up to the plate, I was able to make the entire outfield come forward ten feet.
Meanwhile, Neil Armstrong got slotted right into the astronaut lineup before anyone even got my phone number, which even NASA didn't want to dial because it had two zeroes. He did well. Armstrong had lightning reflexes and a cool, clear head in moments of crisis. He once coaxed a spaceship out of a death spiral by reaching over his head and flicking all the pertinent switches in a precise order whilst tumbling end over end once a second. I feel woozy if I look up into a tree too long, I still listen for a dial tone on my cell phone, and sometimes I tip over while putting on my sock because it never occurs to me to let go of the sock. It is worth noting that I have never been given the benefit of astronaut training.
On the fateful day or possibly night of the moon landing, Neil Armstrong held off near the surface looking for a good landing spot until he had only fifteen seconds of fuel left. I do not play the odds. If I went skydiving, I would pull that ripcord in the first second out of the plane. I leave so much space between my car and the one I'm following that people keep moving into the gap, until eventually I'm going backwards and discover I haven't left my driveway yet.
Neil Armstrong was gracious and glib when speaking publicly but ultimately retired to his farm in Ohio, preferring it to the demands of fame. That is exactly what I, astronaut-like, would do if I were famous. But the similarities stop there. I would never have left the "a" out of the "one small step" speech. Never.