Archive for February 16, 2009

Don’t Ever Ask Me To Save The World

Growing up in Houston it was not unusual to have some connection with NASA. Living in Nassau Bay, it was common to know an astronaut or two or seven. They lived around us, went to church with us, their kids went to school with us, etc. It was normal. I’m not going to go so far as to saying it was not exciting. Because, hey, they’ve been into space and we all know that is cool. But anytime a non-Clear Laker comes around and they get that awe-struck glaze over their eyes, I realize how commonplace it is over here.


I remember when I worked at a bank over by the Galleria, one of our customers was a retired astronaut. Every time he came into the bank, the tellers acted like Brad Pitt just walked it. At one point, one women even got his autograph. That just doesn’t happen in Clear Lake. But don’t get me wrong, I am still aware that it is a unique and ridiculously cool career choice. Little boys dream of being an astronaut. I’m sure there are many little girls out there that sit on spinning chairs, push fake buttons, and “blast off” into space. I was not one of them. I learned at a very young age that a career as a pilot or astronaut was not in my future. Besides my feminist view that those are “boy’s jobs,” I also knew my vision wasn’t good enough. Technically I don’t think astronauts have to have perfect vision, but I think it has to be correctable to 20/20… meaning ‘perfect’ with contacts. And that’s not me.


Let’s just be thankful for that requirement.


It finally happened. After all of my internal bragging and puffs of confidence, I failed. At Space Balls. Apparently the Amblyopia Software developer thought that on day 5 of Vision Therapy, we should have experienced some improvement. So in all of my games last night, movement got faster, distractions got more frequent, and asteroids got a new mind of their own.


Space Balls was one of the harder games to begin with. I think it’s a lot like pong. There is a small ball (or asteroid) that flies across the screen. You have to use your little paddle to keep it from flying off the screen (into the depths of space). The trick here is that all four sides of the screen have paddles. Your mouse controls all of them. If you move your mouse up and down, it moves the left and right paddles vertically. If you move your mouse left and right, it controls the top and bottom paddles and moves them horizontally. I honestly think that even if you have great vision, this is difficult. Well like I said, things got harder last night. The skiier went down the mountain faster, I had to search through the entire alphabet instead of 10 numbers, and don’t even get me started on Laser Ball! But none of them compared to Space Balls. If I had been having a bad day, I would have cried for sure.


I failed. Over and over I failed. When my five minutes of humiliation was over, I was excited for the animated animal to come on the screen and tell me that I did a great job. No such luck. The big lizard comes on the screen and says “You almost had it, better luck next time.” Ouch. I wanted to yell back at that ugly lizard and tell him that I would never have it. It’s unreasonable to think that someone who can’t hardly see can save the world from speeding asteroids. They’re coming from all directions for Heaven’s sake! Give me a break here. Even real astronauts have help. Yeah, okay, maybe they don’t hit asteroids with paddles, but if they did, they’d have help. They wouldn’t be left all alone in the depths of space with four small paddles. All I’m asking for is a little understanding here.


And now I’m scarred. And bitter. Mark my words: If the world is about to come to an end and I’m the one trusted to block the asteroid on its path to earth, I will refuse. Because when I fail and we all die, there will be a lone lizard hanging out on earth with all of the roaches that survived. He’ll look up at me (you know, since I’ll be in Heaven) and say “You almost had it, better luck next time.” And I couldn’t bare that.

February 16, 2009 at 9:39 am 1 comment


February 2009


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