Friday, August 9, 2013

Mars, we have a problem!

OK this is weird.

I went to check out a link in an email I received because I’m in the running to go to Mars.  But that’s not what I meant about weird.

I mean you knew that already, right? 

I have my application in with Mars One, the non-profit organization that’s raising $6 billion to fund a one-way colony-building mission to the Red Planet. 

My application’s not quite finished.  I haven’t submitted the requisite two-minute video explaining my sense of humor and why I want to go to Mars.  It’s due the end of the month.  That and the essay explaining why I’m an ideal candidate to leave earth and never return.

But other than that, I’m good to go. 

So, I’m on their email list.  They’re keeping me posted.  I’m in the loop. 

But, to be honest, I’ve been ignoring their reminders. 

Anyway, today’s message was titled “Packing for Mars,” and I just had to look.  If I’m selected from among the anticipated one million applicants, will I need sunscreen?  Aluminum foil?  Can I take my cats?

There’s no urgency of course, since the blast off isn’t until 2022, but I like to think ahead.
To my dismay though, no packing list was included.  But there was the link that I followed to check out two “local Martians” meetings coming up this month.

One is in Darmstadt, Germany, and the other at Cloud Gate in Chicago.  So.  There’s that.  If I want to hang with like-minded Martians-to-be …

I’ll admit the notices for these gatherings raised some concerns.  I’m thinking some folks might just want to make fun.  Flash back to that Star Trek convention sketch on Saturday Night Live when William Shatner broke character and told the Trekkies to “get a life!”  How demoralizing! 

Mars is serious business!

Then, in the margin of the site I noticed a “People You May Know” sidebar.  Hahaha, I thought.  Wouldn’t that be something if oh my GOD!  Other people I know have applied to go to Mars!?!

Here’s a guy from my high school class back in Tulsa.  No way.  We had nothing in common back then.  He made bad grades and wore 27 rabbits’ feet on his belt. 

Oh.  Well.  OK.  I get it.  Here we go to Mars together.  Me and Mr. Lucky.

But that was only the outer edges of the bizarre.  My eyes drifted upward, to the corner of the screen.  And now spine tingling and hair standing – I swear I could hear the Twilight Zone theme song playing ever so faintly in the background – there are pictures of MY Elvis party on the “Aspiring Martians” webpage with the caption, “Where were these pictures taken?”

Mind boggled.  I rubbed my eyes.  But yes.  There’s the picture of the life-sized cardboard cutout of young Elvis in his gold lame` suit with that one sprig of black hair broken free, resting just so on his forehead … in MY entry hall. 

And THERE I AM!  ME!  In my gold lame` suit and ridiculous black wig and my ludicrous attempt to look cool while sneering like Elvis.

For a moment I thought – is Elvis alive ON MARS!?!  Of course!  Dominoes are falling.  It’s all coming together!  The universe makes sense now!  Hallelujah!  Whoop!  Whoop!  Whoop!

But then reality crashed in – the loud clang of a face-slapping gong – Of course:  “Aspiring Martians” is a Facebook page. 

Mortification.  Sadness.  Dismay. 

Mars One isn’t serious business.  I’ve signed up to be a space cadet.  Aspiring Martians must have used Facebook’s new “graphing” technology and found me because I dressed up like Elvis.  Mr. Lucky and I are just the sort they’re recruiting.

But on reflection and more humbling still, I had to admit, that’s not it.  They didn’t find me.  I found them.  I started the process and then they rooted around in my photos and put them on their page! 

All I can say now is that my world has shifted.  My commitment to the mission is in question.  I won’t ride seven months across the cosmos with a hodge-podge of peculiar people who have no place better to go. 

And I won’t leave earth only to be mocked by those who deny the King.