I’ve wanted to go to space ever since the third grade, when I first saw “Toy Story.” I was horrified by the limp impotence of Buzz Lightyear, a tiny little baby astronaut who could barely fly across a child’s bedroom, let alone venture into the boundless expanse of space. What a stupid little baby. I realized that if I ever failed so horrendously in terms of astronauting, I would never gain the respect of the brave cowboys whom I admired. I resolved to be the best astronaut this universe had ever seen, even better than Neil Armstrong, who spent his entire life chasing a moon he wasn’t even sure existed. If that isn’t astronauting, then I am deeply confused as to the definition of astronauting.
“But how?” I asked myself aloud, awaking my grandmother who had been asleep this entire time. It wasn’t going to be easy. In fact, it was going to be hard. First, I needed to learn everything there was to learn about space: how big it was, how wide it was, if the size of space was at all constrained, how large it was, etc. Unfortunately, there is no Wikipedia entry for “space.” I was absolutely stumped and not in the good way. I was just about to give up on my online research when suddenly, my grandmother began to choke on her roast beef sandwich. So first I performed the Heimlich maneuver and then I gave up on my online research.
Chagrined, I decided to head to NSAS to see if they could help in my quest to become the universe’s best astronaut, even better than Neil Armstrong, the Michael Jordan of astronauting. Upon arriving at the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, however, I realized two things about myself: First, I am dyslexic, and second, I am a Nebraska boy at heart. So I decided to stay for a while, promoting agricultural and food systems that build healthy land, people, communities and quality of life for present and future generations. After a few hours, however, I realized how far I’d strayed from my initial purpose. Like too many good men before me, I’d gotten caught up in the debauchery and carnal pleasure of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society. I should not have volunteered to be its president and later, its king. I guess it’s true what they say about power corrupting you: that power corrupts you. While I knew I’d miss all my new friends, excluding Greg, who would not stop referring to himself as “The Corn Dog” while repeatedly spanking himself with an empty husk, it was time for me to go to NASA.
It is hard to describe NASA in just one word, but I’ll try: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I arrived at the headquarters drenched in sweat, my eyes glistening with excitement, trepidation and sweat. As soon as I entered, I was confronted by the prime minister of NASA, Buzz Aldrin’s ghost. He looked real enough to touch, so I touched his face and he got upset.
“And just what do you think you’re doing, young man?” he said spookily, like a ghost. I shuddered in my boots.
“Prime Minister Aldrin — I am here to be the universe’s greatest astronaut, even better than Neil Armstrong, the Michael Jackson of astronauting.”
He began to laugh maniacally, like a living man. “Foolish boy, you would be lucky to be the Amelia Earhart of astronauting. Just look at yourself.”
Tragically, I didn’t have access to a mirror. Unable to fulfill Prime Minister Aldrin’s simple request, I began to sob hysterically, like Greg when I took away his spanking husk. I watched the ghost prime minister saunter cockily away, as if he was the first astronaut to have walked on the moon and was also still alive. What if he was right about me being the Amy Something of astronauting? Would I be remembered in the annals of space travel as someone who couldn’t even fly a plane around the stupid world, let alone the universe? I paused for dramatic effect. What if I just wasn’t good enough?
But then I thought about something someone once said to me: “To infinity and beyond.” That someone was the pitiful waste of space, Buzz Lightyear. What an absolutely moronic thing to say — there is nothing beyond infinity, you pathetic man-child! I realized that I could never live with myself if I resigned to be a tiny little baby astronaut who spewed senseless aphorisms in an attempt to compensate for my inferior intellect and stature. I noticed a rocket departing in the west and charged toward it, lunging forward to grab a hook before it launched. Suddenly, I was coursing through the air, my body flapping against the rocket’s hull like a valiant flag. I pierced through the clouds into the ether, flying upward and upward until suddenly everything was quiet and dark. Far below me, my life was abstracted and revolving. The sprawling cornfields of Nebraska were now just a small brush stroke of gold on a green canvas. The Pacific was a vast and immutable blue mass. How was this the same rippling ocean where I’d baptized myself just one year prior?
I had done it. I had become the universe’s best astronaut, even better than Neil Armstrong, the Michael Fassbender of astronauting. When I returned to Earth, I would certainly be surrounded by thronging hordes of lascivious fans. I would reap the many sweet-ass perks of professional astronauting. I would be famous. But suddenly, none of that mattered anymore. I let go of the rocket, exhaling as I drifted away amongst the stars. I was in space and it was beautiful.
This piece is a preview of the Yale Record’s upcoming Space Issue, to be released in October. The Record is Yale’s, America’s and the world’s oldest humor publication.
Elliot Connors | firstname.lastname@example.org .