Monday, August 27, 2012

Neil Armstrong -- The Man on the Moon

(courtesy of snapper31
from Flickr)
Monday August 27, 11:56 p.m.

It seemed strangely apropos to hear about the passing of astronaut Neil Armstrong while the FanExpo was going downtown during the weekend. While the rest of us guys (attendees, stars, artists) were having our love-in with science-fiction, here was a guy who had been reluctantly thrust into a permanent limelight because of science fact.

His name has become so famous, so seared into our collective consciousness, that hearing those two names said together has become virtually mundane historically. Of course, that's the guy who went to the moon. We all say it as a matter of historical and scientific fact, as if Neil Armstrong was more myth than man, as if he didn't really exist. But of course, he existed and lived, but the myth grew because the man didn't want to have anything to do with the celebrity of what he had accomplished.

And yet in 1969, he did what had been considered impossible. He and Buzz Aldrin went on a mission that supposedly had only a 50% chance of success (i.e. survival). They were alone out there heading to Earth's only natural satellite, and yet they were probably the most-watched two people in history up to that point. And when Armstrong took that first step onto the Moon and uttered those legendary words, the life of everybody on his planet of origin changed. People didn't have to fantasize about going to space, about going to an alien piece of rock anymore. Armstrong and Aldrin and all those people at NASA proved it was possible. People needn't have dreamed anymore; if they wanted to , they could go as well. Armstrong was truly a hero in that sense.

My regret was that I was too young to remember the Moon landing.

Now, taking a page out of my fellow Canadian, Diana Krall, who played this song at a concert in LA in honour of Armstrong, I leave you with another version by Kei Kobayashi.