Guest columnist Jonathan Kahane: In a ‘galaxy far, far away’

  • BLOOMBERG PHOTO/CHRISTOPHER PIKE

Published: 4/20/2021 1:45:35 PM

I do believe that in the not too distant future, space and time travel will become available to the general public and will ultimately grow to be commonplace. Before that eventuality occurs, motivated, adventurous, and brave souls — like me — will pave the way to that glorious era which I think will ultimately save our civilization from extinction.

I have just completed one of the first space/time explorations sponsored by a top secret arm of NASA (or was it SpaceX?) and feel obligated to share my experiences. I was able to join the crew, because one of my sons works for SpaceX and got me the inside track — another example of it’s not what you know but whom you know.

Yes, it is a top secret project, but I’m sure that Russia and China have hacked into the system and will spill the beans to the rest of the world after they digest all the data. I will preempt them and share the details with you. Please keep them under your hat. You never know who might be listening.

I’m well aware that most people who perform dangerous acts of altruism are quick to deny being labeled a hero. I, on the other hand, with a slight bow of the head and a modicum of humility, will happily receive that accolade. Why not? If I deserve the honor, I should accept it and be proud. I will spare you the trouble of thanking me.

To begin my story, the mission was to take me to one of the most unsettling areas of the universe — planet Louisiana. It’s a sector of our solar system which I have tried to avoid up until now due to suspected life-forms whose communications are, shall I say, indecorous and whose behaviors seem to often be at odds with my opinions and beliefs. (I had previously chosen more scalding adjectives but decided to temper my choice of words for this report.)

In order to get to the LZ, my route was mapped out to traverse other neighboring segments of our solar system, and all of these exhibited some forms of behavior which can’t be explained at present and require further study. For example, one of the apparent elders in a sector labeled “South Carolina,” who was referred to as “Lindsey Graham” by the inhabitants, had the uncanny ability to speak out of both sides of his mouth. The zone referred to as “Georgia” seemed to be segregating certain individuals from participating in the decision-making process for no apparent reason. We gained this information by parsing reports sent back to us from unmanned satellites.

I joined the rest of the crew at Bradley Airport and we were scheduled to lift off at 0700 hours. I had been prepped with two vaccinations to protect me against exotic contaminants with which I might come in contact. I’m quite sure that many of my crew members were not.

We were instructed to wear masks over our noses and mouths during the entire voyage. Many did not and Mission Control didn’t seem to care. Seat belts were not fastened and we were all stuffed into the module like a can of sardines. The countdown was delayed for over an hour while we remained in the capsule due to “technical difficulties” — the potty was jammed. We were forced to move to another launching pad where a backup rocket was waiting, but the instructions to get there sent most of us in the wrong direction.

Two hours later the countdown resumed and there was liftoff. My crew mates demonstrated a complete disregard for the rules and regulations we were instructed to follow during the voyage.

Despite the difficulties encountered, we finally touched down in Baton Rouge crater. After descending from the module, I found myself in a time warp. There were strange life-forms seemingly communicating in sounds I couldn’t decipher. They were all barefaced and looked at me in a menacing manner as I was still in my space mask.

As I explored the alien terrain, one of the inhabitants, who looked strikingly like my older son, was spiked by a catfish while fishing — a dangerous situation. The woman next to him (who looked exactly like his wife) went to his aid and immediately took him to be taken care of. Hey, wait just a second. That was my son and that was my daughter-in-law. They must have traveled on an earlier space flight. It’s understandable that we didn’t recognize each other immediately as we hadn’t seen one another in 16 months. I was able to locate both later, but only had a short amount of time to share the moment. Very frustrating.

We were running out of supplies quickly, and it became essential to board our spacecraft again for our return trip — another exercise in my crew mates’ total disregard for safety protocol. Again, there were interminable delays before liftoff and on our return. During our descent, I was so preoccupied with recording my experience that I misplaced an important piece of equipment — a Nook e-reader.

From reading this log, you might come to the conclusion that the odyssey was uncomfortable and unsuccessful. You would be very mistaken. I was able to make personal contact with my older son and his wife for the first time in well over a year. It was an unqualified success and joy.

Since the CDC has lifted the restrictions on air travel for fully vaccinated individuals, counterintuitively, you should not be surprised to see a sharp increase in the number of senior citizen space/time travelers taking to the skies to make contact with their offspring in a “Galaxy far far away.”

Jonathan Kahane lives in Westhampton.

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