This Space Taken

This October 4th will mark the 65th anniversary of a rather momentous occassion. No, it wasn't the time Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper perished in a plane crash, otherwise known as "The Day the Music Died" (February 3rd, 1959). Likewise, not the occassion when Ray Crok opened the first McDonald's (April 15th, 1955) and also negative regarding the date of Cher's first of several plastic surgeries (c'mon, she was only ten, a good decade away from consideration)... Alright, here's a hint: the weight of the object involved with this anniversary is 183.9 pounds (again, no, it's not Cher; why are you so fixated on this lady, anyway?)... Okay, so before you Google it--which is cheating and you know it--I'll throw you a bone. The date October 4th, 1957 marks the advent of the "space race", the day the Russians launched the satellite, Sputnik, into orbit around the earth. And yeah, I'm sure that was your next guess.

So wow, talkin' 'bout the "final frontier" here. "Boldly goin' where no man has gone before". Well, except for hundreds of astronauts. And of course, those billionaire guys. Not to mention William Shatner. Oh yeah, and didn't Michael Strayhan go too? Okay, sorry, so it seems a whole slew of men (and women) "have boldly gone before" so, so many times. Still, we are talkin' outer space here, the mere concept inspiring numerous TV shows and movies, i.e., the countless incarnations of Star Trek, the dozen Star Wars movies and nearly as many TV shows. Oh, and then there's "2001: A Space Odyssey" with H.A.L., the smooth-talking evil supercomputer. And lest we forget "Space Jam" (please, please let us forget!).

And while the space race to the outer regions of our galaxy is relatively new, man's wanderlust has been around since the beginning. Back in the day the likes of Magellan, de Soto and Columbus along with a host of other explorers ventured forth to unmapped locales looking for brand new spaces right here on planet earth. And if we go way back there were various nomadic tribes intent on finding more hospitable land and climate to better their standard of living. And in the so-called beginning, a cute couple named Adam and Eve, dwelling in, by all accounts, a fantastic space, had a falling out with their landlord and were forced to search for another place on their own. So, yeah, the concept of space has a little history.

Interestingly, while space is a relative term--be it the necessary one inch gain on the gridiron for the first down or the zillion-plus light years to the far reaches of outer space--we, as humans, shared roughly the same rather snug living space at the outset. That's right, every single one of us (yeah, even Cher) served our time in the womb. Or, as I like to think of it, a non-monetary, non-negotiable, non-threatening one-room, lacking curb appeal, devoid of resale value and containing absolutely no "open concept" (ya' know, until birth). Ironically, once we were out and inundated with all this open space we were powerless to explore, completely dependant on adults to get us from point A to point B. But, hotwired as we are to wander, we quickly learned to sit up, crawl, walk then run. And from there it wasn't long before we were pedaling a bicycle then getting a driver's license and purchasing a plane ticket, which provided us not just space but our very first buffer zone!

To be sure, we're obsessed with space of every kind. There's personal space as in "Don't stand so close to me" or "Turn your music down!" There's office space where you can set up an appointment (ya' know, if you have a space open). There are shouting matches spurred on by contentious drivers vying for the same parking space. If you're an NFL owner you have to deal with cap space. There's the space between your ears which may or may not be spaced out at any given time. You can take up space or run out of space or need a breathing space or be pressed for space. There's the space of time it takes to write this. And just now I had to double space to start this sentence. And yes, Cher won a best actress award for her role in "Moonstruck" which has the word "moon" in it which is in outer space but that's neither here nor there (wow, you really should see someone about this Cher fixation). Anyway, that's all I've got. Be back in two weeks. So... watch this space.