Every so often, I come across a piece of trivial information that nonetheless changes the way I think, maybe forever.
That's how it was with a recent Mental Floss article by Matt Soniak about the moon. It seems our nearest celestial neighbor is the permanent repository of astronaut poop, courtesy of bagged waste that these stalwart explorers left behind.
Those bags of refuse are still up there, floating high above our heads. Lovers walking beneath a full moon, dogs baying at the moon and singers crooning about a blue moon are all in one way or another paying unintentional homage to emesis bags filled with the doodoo of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Alan Shepard and nine others who walked there during five Apollo missions.
Some scientists, it seems, would like to someday retrieve these bags to study the bacteria within. The sci-fi geek in me can't help but imagine a horror movie based on this scenario, as decades-old feces is exposed to the air to create indestructible poop zombies, all brown-eyed, of course, bent on worldwide domination. "In space, no one can hear you" -- you know.
Others think that studying the bags is a crappy idea and would like to see the poop, along with other artifacts of various manned moon landings, become a World Heritage Site, presumably under federal protection. I can't imagine anybody having enough time and energy to devote to crusading for such a cause, but maybe that's the way regular folks viewed visionaries decades ago who were worried about pollution, computer privacy and the wild gyrations of the backside that today are known as twerking.
Speaking of smelly waste, I've been following with some interest the back-and-forth attempts of our elected officials to alternately keep the doors of federal government open while delaying/repealing/destroying Obamacare.
It's a game of political one-upmanship and spin control that would make even flight-simulator-certified astronauts dizzy. While most of us slept beneath a waning crescent moon early Sunday morning, the House was busy passing a spending bill that funded the government but delayed the Affordable Care Act for a year. The Senate rejected it, and just in case, the president vowed to veto it. Like the instructions on a bottle of shampoo -- wash, rinse, repeat -- the same shenanigans keep occurring, even after the government shut down Tuesday.
Wiser people than I have studied Obamacare at much more length, and some of their findings give me pause. An extra year to study, rework and tweak probably wouldn't hurt the Not Ready for Primetime law, but does anybody believe the GOP actually will engage in that process, or will they spend 12 more months doing what they've done since Obamacare passed -- fighting to repeal it on behalf of their wealthy political patrons?
This endless game of political football being played for the lives of the uninsured is enough to make me wish that all politicians born with a silver spoon in their mouths could take a sabbatical to the moon. Hanging out there among the emesis bags, they'd be with their own kind, after all, and from that vantage point, they'd be doing what they're most accustomed to doing: Looking down on all Americans.
Schillig is an Alliance area educator and journalist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or cschillig on Twitter.