As I float some two million miles away from Earth in the cold, silent vacuum of deep space, I find myself thinking about how far I’ve come, both literally and figuratively.
It seems like only yesterday that Elon Musk and SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Rocket shot me into space to start my billion-year journey. And even though it was actually weeks ago, I still remember the feeling knowing millions of people around the world were watching me, and forgetting about their problems for a short time while desperation and oversaturation were replaced with hope and progress.
Which got me thinking: sure, millions saw me, but how many of them actually know me?
So, as I float here in the deep void of space with nothing but time, I think back to Nordstrom, back to Lonny, back to Sam, back to Jaime.
See, I didn’t just get here because of my cold, white exterior, or because of my smooth, straight arms, or because of how goddamn good I look riding this bitchin’ fire red Tesla Roadster straight to fucking Mars, baby.
No, I got here because of hard work. Hard work and a dream that started many years ago in the men’s apparel section of Nordstrom Rack.
Based on his inquisitive stare, I assumed he was looking for an inexpensive wool sweater to go with his black dress pants. Luckily for him, they were on sale.
I’ll never forget when he said “that’s the one,” in only the way Lonny Musk can. Immediately, my thoughts went to the daisy-yellow cardigan draped around my plastic shoulders, but no. He was in the market for something much more…personal.
It was Lonny who pulled me from that dead-end mannequin job and gave me an opportunity to fulfill my dream of attending SpaceX Academy. I felt like Marilyn Monroe getting discovered at that diner.
I was so nervous that I don’t think I took a breath the entire time I laid in the small, but well-designed trunk of his other, non-space-bound Tesla Roadster.
Like the hundreds of thousands of dummies who dream of going to space, I was quite aware of how insanely competitive the SpaceX program was.
In particular, I remember this one dummy, Sam. From the get-go, I just knew Sam and I would be rivals. I had a feeling there would be something connecting us through the years at the Academy, driving us to compete against each other, hate each other, but maybe grow to respect each other someday as we both stand with our significant others and reflect on years past while our dummy children leave for their first day of SpaceX Academy.
But life at the Academy was harder than I thought. Every day, it was Aeronautical Engineering taught by Neil deGrasse Tyson, A Brief History of Time, taught by Stephen Hawking, and an intense Driver’s Ed class, oddly taught by Ed Harris, specifically for the pun. That's Lonny for you.
Throughout all the classes, we all knew Lonny was preparing us for something special.
But what made the Academy really special thing was my partner and love interest, Jaime. The two of us were inseparable. We would spend hours just modeling clothes for each other and listening to Space Oddity, which, in hindsight probably wasn’t the best idea, as even David Bowie can get annoying after a while.
Everything was perfect, until that one fateful day. Lonny called me into his office for some big news.
My emotions dropped from intense ecstasy to immense sadness as I heard I was chosen for the Mars mission. I knew this was what I had been training for, but I also knew Jaime couldn’t come with me. The weight of our goodbye hit me all at once. I knew there would be tears shed, but I also knew that I was destined to live the dream of hundreds of less-fortunate dummies.
And suddenly, it was launch day.
After many unsuccessful attempts at a tearful goodbye, I boarded the Falcon Heavy and took my seat in Lonny’s Tesla. As he looked into my eyes, in the way only Lonny can, he simply said, “say hi to the Martians for me.” And with a wink of his eye, he disappeared.
And the rest is history.
So, as I float here in the deep void of space with nothing but time, I think back to Nordstrom, back to Lonny, back to Sam, back to Jaime. I sit back and I think…oh shit! That's why they call Mars the red planet! That, like, just hit me!
Until next time, peace on Earth and goodwill to everyone. Also, if anyone is thinking of shooting something else into space anytime soon, I could really use a book to read.
Up, Up, and Away –