Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

April 30, 2013

Happy where I am, thank you

By Mike Redmond
CNHI

— I see where a Dutch company is looking for volunteers to build a human colony on Mars.

Pass.

I guess I’m just not an adventurer anymore. Yes, I said anymore. At another period in my life I would have jumped at the chance to be among the first Earthlings to settle on another planet, to be a pioneer in the final frontier, to boldly go (which should really be “go boldly”) where no man has gone, and all that other Star Trek-type stuff.

Yes, there was a time when all that adventure would have appealed to me. It was called “fifth grade.”

Now I am perfectly content to stay on the planet that birthed me, mess though it might be. For one thing, we have breathable air here. Not as much as we used to, but it’s still around. I don’t know about you, but that’s always a big plus when I’m looking for a new neighborhood. We also have food, cable television, baseball and other necessities for human life, and besides, this is where all my stuff is. If I can’t take my Jerry Mahoney ventriloquist figure and my Roy Rogers lunchbox, I ain’t goin’.

As I understand the Martian Mission, known as Mars One, the first ship full of volunteers is scheduled to get to Mars in 2023, with crews following every two years afterward. The space rangers will have spent some seven years in training on earth, including living in a fake Martian colony. Actually, that’s probably a good idea. Seven years of pretending ought to give the bosses plenty of time to separate the true trekkers from those who would only be lost in space.

Actually, the Dutch mission is one of two Martian encounters in the news lately. The other, offered by the Inspiration Mars Foundation, proposes to send an older, married couple off to inspect the place, presumably looking for good places to build cafeterias that serve dinner at 4:30 p.m.

They want an older, married couple because of the amount of time the two will have to spend in close quarters. And they’ll have to be there for a good long time too. OK, so let’s do the math: Two humans plus close quarters plus, let’s say, three years travel time equals … I say disaster. Heck, I know couples that can’t drive across town in a mini-van without getting into a fight. And God help the space couple if they get lost and get into that whole “just pull over and ask for directions” argument.

Now I know what you’re thinking: Mike Redmond, you’re just being all snarky and negative because you’re jealous. As usual, you are exactly right. Of course I’m jealous. What red-blooded, middle-aged American male wouldn’t want to fly into space? What red-blooded, middle-aged American male wouldn’t want to be among the first to visit another planet? What red-blooded, middle-aged American male doesn’t behave, at least part of the time, as if he were still in fifth grade?

But alas, I know it is not in the cards for me. I am too old, too hard to move, and too deeply attached to my mother Earth. I guess I’d rather work on fixing her before I go off with the rest of the humans to start ruining another planet.

© 2013 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved