Astro Boy

Sep 11, 2015
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Transcript

GLYNN WASHINGTON, HOST:

OK, so I understand lots of kids want to be astronauts. It's like the top three or four things to do, and I get that. But I really wanted to be an astronaut. More than that, I intended to be an astronaut. I found out, in fact, in second grade that most astronauts were pulled from the ranks of Air Force and Navy test pilots, and test pilots don't have very long life expectancies.

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WASHINGTON: So I started studying flight, crash, escape scenarios. I read star charts, built telescopes, studied exploration theory. They had fitness regimes. I drank Tang, slept with high lines - have spacesuit, will travel - under my pillow at night to prepare myself for the call because these guys were supermen, so I had become one, too. And I tried - Lord knows I tried. But certain things - physics, the calculus, the chemistry, they didn't come easy to me. And I don't know when I decided I didn't measure up, but I just felt like it wasn't working. I couldn't be one of those guys.

So I started looking for a backdoor, holes in the system. Maybe they'll need somebody like me someday. I wouldn't say it out loud, but somewhere in the back my head I figured it could still happen. The phone could still ring. A couple weeks ago, I went camping on a trail and at night looked up at the sky and it was ablaze. And I imagined 7-year-old me, that little kid reading Encyclopaedia Britannica about rocket ships with the flashlight - that kid looking up at the grown man I've become, and I wonder if that kid would be pissed.

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WASHINGTON: Today, on SNAP JUDGMENT, from PRX and NPR, Man On A Mission, amazing stories from real people bound and determined to stick with the plan. My name is Glynn Washington, and if you know someone at NASA, please tell them you have the perfect candidate because you're listening to SNAP JUDGMENT.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.