#22 In a Time of Space Oddities

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1. Are you an Ideal Husband (Or Wife?)

When we talk about Character, we often talk about improvement, which quickly fills us with striving, followed quickly by disappointment and harsh judgement and self-hatred. But character isn't about perfection. Father John Misty helps explain what I mean in a song about Julian Assange––the founder of WikiLeaks (the website that exposes top secret government documents)––turning personal.

Here's what Father John discovers about himself upon close, honest inspection:

Julian
He's gonna take my files

Every woman that I've slept with
Every friendship I've neglected
Didn't call when grandma died
I spend my money getting drunk and high
I've done things unprotected
Proceeded to drive home wasted
Bought things to win over siblings
I've said awful things, such awful things

Telling people jokes to shut them up
Resenting people that I love
Sleepin' 'til two then doin' shit
Just stay in bed and later lie 'bout it
Obsessing over greying hair
Knowing just what people wanna hear
Binging on unearned attention
I've said awful things, such awful things

And now
Now it's out

I came by at seven in the morning
Seven in the morning, seven in the morning
I came by at seven in the morning
I said, "Baby, I'm finally succumbing"
Said something dumb like "I'm tired of running
Tired of running, tired of running"
Let's put a baby in the oven
Wouldn't I make the ideal husband?


Listen to the song here. 

How many of those things am I guilty of? All of them, in some metamorphosis or other. And it feels good publicly avowing it. 

And but even though the song's last line is irony in full bloom, there's an irony to the irony: the ability to see yourself clearly, including––nay, especially–– the unpleasant stuff, is what define your own character's contours. 

So imagine your personal files were about to be discovered. What would the world see? What are the most painful things you wish you could avow? What if having character is more about courageously admitting who you are rather than trying to fix yourself?            
                             

  Ground Control to Major Tom Take your protein pills and put your helmet on Ground Control to Major Tom (ten, nine, eight, seven, six) Commencing countdown, engines on (five, four, three) Check ignition and may God's love be with you (two, one, liftoff) 

Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom (ten, nine, eight, seven, six)
Commencing countdown, engines on (five, four, three)
Check ignition and may God's love be with you (two, one, liftoff) 

 

2. This is a real––non-photoshopped––picture. Elon Musk's private company SpaceX this week launched the world's most powerful rocket at a tiny fraction of what it cost the government to launch rockets way back when that was still a thing and it carried inside Musk's old car, the Tesla Roadster, with a mannequin sitting in the front seat, comandeering the car at 23,500 mph out in space, listening to an infinite loop of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" playing on the speakers. "DON'T PANIC!" is the Spaceman's cosmic dashboard sticker.  

This gasket-blowing achievement is literally and figuratively about perspective. It's dazzling to see with our own eyeballs the potential humans have when they stop fucking around killing each other and instead work together for a common, seemingly impossible, but apparently not, purpose. Because all the humor we see on display here is an important reminder that despite the hugeness of what we as a species just did, we're still a small grain of sand––if that––in the cosmic galaxy. Amazing things happen when we recognize our minuscule place in the big picture and do what needs to be done anyway. We're small and tiny, and yet we're part of the infinite. Don't Panic. 
 

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This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare
This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do

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Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles
I'm feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much she knows
Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you "Here am I floating 'round my tin can
Far above the moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do


 

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Spaceman's planned orbit. 

 Click here to access the cameras that are live-streaming its travels toward Mars. 

Stephen Colbert Crowns Elon Musk King Nerd
 

3. Wisdom Pin-up:

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4. Reader's Mailbag:

I saw “The Departure” last night. One aspect I took away from it was how his coping mechanisms contributed to his illness.  Not just the stress, but how he coped with the stress. The drinking. The clubbing - even when he was exhausted emotionally and physically. As with all IRL heroes, he was deeply flawed. And, I think, recognized it. But, as he said, he could not stop.

~Stephanie