This isn’t what I signed up for. I was sold on the sort of space exploration your grandpa gets misty-eyed over. Nowadays, it’s less about giant leaps for mankind, and a whole lot more about sharing bunk beds with some Belorussian cosmonaut named Sergei, whose only onboard personal possession is a wallet-sized photo of Ted Danson. The food is rough. The bathroom situation is worse. And explain to me why I’m missing the new season of True Detective, when our satellite television carries Indonesian cricket and Univision around the clock.

And yes, fine, I masturbated aboard the International Space Station. Know this first: I am a man. A normal man with normal needs. Do the whole “walk-a-mile-in-my-shoes” thing. There’s no elbow room here. No privacy. Sergei hums the theme song from Cheers until I beg him to stop.

So understandably, I’m ecstatic when the spacewalk gets scheduled. I’ll hang back in the control module. Get a little alone time. Let ol’ Sergei tinker around with solar panels in the cruel nothingness of space.

All I do is what anyone would do. I throw on Adele’s “25” and check the bolt lock on the pressurized hatch. I stick a Post-It on the camera feed from Sergei’s helmet. I practice a little self-care. In retrospect, maybe I should’ve had a sock or a tissue. That’s fair criticism. But how was I supposed to know this entire fucking control module was going to go off like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse—flying sparks and sirens and panel doors flapping open and shut. All over a little bit of floating semen at zero gravity? Inexcusable.

Mission Control blames me for this, obviously. For a group of dorks so proud of their contingency planning, they sure do love throwing phrases like “catastrophic failure” around suddenly. And where exactly is the blame for the “lowest bidder” policies that resulted in half this space station being built with second-hand electronics from Burkina Faso? Jizz should not be jeopardizing space missions. End of story.

Yes, I blamed this mishap on a spilled Diet Pepsi initially. I should not have doubled down on that lie. But what should I have said? “Sorry, Houston, I just accidentally splammoed in the control deck?” And. for the last time, I did not remember there was a 24/7 livestream on this hunk of floating space shit. To those 40,000 or so space enthusiasts and school children, I’m sorry. That’s a genuine apology.

For the record, the defamation lawsuit brought by PepsiCo admittedly isn’t great, but it’s not the reason I’m refusing to return to earth. I’m just not.

I’m from Iowa. There’s no facing these people again. And I already saw the Washington Post articles. Read that the good folks in my hometown are worried about me. Praying real hard. Saw the photo of that “all-night vigil” with my neighbors in “Cum Home Quickly” tee-shirts. I already endured these bastards once in high school. There’s no way I’m returning to Pea City, Iowa to live out my days being snickered at by a bunch of Kroger night managers. I’m an astronaut, goddamnit! A real-life spaceman! I got certificates!

To the psychologist interviewed by the BBC who said on the spectrum of embarrassment I’ve “shot well beyond guilt, directly to unfaceable, almost tragic, shame.” Fuck you.

To all Twitter warriors, but most especially to @BMXBradyxxx420, who claims I’m acting like his current high school girlfriend: wrong again, muchacho. You’re lucky I’m totally over returning to earth.

To those who say I’m a terrible role model, I ask why are you supporting your idiot children’s astronaut dreams in the first place? All this career has given me is the bone density of a Japanese centenarian. Is this what you want for your kid? Right now, there’s a chick in a bikini getting paid my salary to post a photo of her slamming down an energy drink that’s also a mid-range rosé. Be better parents.

Alright, I can hear Univision is playing a dubbed version of Space Jam again, so this about does it for me. If you speak to my wife, tell her that I was thinking about her the entire time.

History will redeem me.

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