Suggested Audio Candy:
David Bowie “Life on Mars”
I barely ever watch the news. Find it wholly depressing for almost its entirety and even the skateboarding budgie story at the tail-end can’t lift my spirits after such a glut of ill fortune and woe. Consequently a lot of current affairs are lost on me and, for the most part, that is fine with Keeper. Call me ignorant and you may well be onto something but I prefer to call it ‘doom dodging’ as I prefer to view the world through a slightly more rose-tinted pair of spectacles.
Every now and then I miss a doozy of an exclusive, something truly worthy. Most recently I remained oblivious to the ground-breaking news that a 19-year old named Stephanie Bridges has been short-listed for an upcoming expedition to Mars. This is no “plant a flag and let’s get the fuck out of here” kind of deal, she’s got to take up residence there, likely with three burly Europeans tanked-up to the eyebrows with gravity-defying ejaculate. Not the most well-laid plan when you do your math, should one of them go a little Buscemi and catch a bout of Solar Screams then she could find herself in some compromising positions and, if all three go cuckoo, she could be in for some real discomfort. It did fuel the neurons some however so i thought I’d have a further poke around.
Now I’ve seen a lot of Sci-Fi over the years, witnessed enough unidentified flying objects and even had brunch with E.T. during that period. Delightful little fella, quiet unassuming and wholly not responsible for his failing personal hygiene. I stuffed him into my bicycle basket while taking a brisk peddle across the moon and helped him decide on a contract payment plan to afford him free international phone calls when he began to get a little homesick. You could even say that we became best friends in our brief time together and, when he caught his cab back to the stars, I shed a solitary crimson tear for my phallic-looking buddy.
I know what goes on in space, and none of it encourages me. While enjoying their brief hiatus on our planet, aliens seem contented with swimming around with the elderly. Out there, in their natural habitat, things are a lot more ominous. Xenomorphs, Romulans and Daleks are hardly the most hospitable hosts and dipping your toast in an alien ovium is a risky endeavor when removed from Earth’s atmosphere. Enemy Mine taught us all how to get along, whereas Pitch Black reminded us that the moment our torches dim, we’re royally screwed.
I can’t say it holds no appeal to me, the prospect of starting a fresh civilization in deep space. But neither does it make me want to get my bony ass over to Space Camp. Jack Deth didn’t have to shoot off into the solar system in order to be donated that cool green laser and Drew Barrymore wasn’t required to take a mission to Spaceballs Academy in order to find an extra-terrestrial willing to dress like a dame for her. E.T. even did a fairly bang-up job with the lip-liner although the dress hardly complimented his child-bearing hips I have to say. My point is this…let them come to us.
I find it hard to fathom the allure of spending the rest of my days cooped up on Mars, deck-chair on the red sands and perusing the centrespreads of Play-Entity. Granted, the broadband signal may well be strong but it would take light years to receive any web purchases and likely cost a comet. Peace and tranquility may be yours and it does appeal having a nice wide-pen vista to use as divine inspiration for scribing but, should you run out of Oreos, it’s a long walk to the nearest 7-Eleven.
I’m all for my prime ribs but tubes of beef tongue sterilized with ionizing radiation just doesn’t cry out yum scrum I’m sad to say. How may jerkies can one man consume before he starts mooing? Speaking of which, imagine floating around your poky anti-grav chamber surrounded by bearded Russians who haven’t washed for weeks. And what if all that pureed red meat caused one of the Borises to leak a little methane in his vacuum-packed pants or, worse still, shart? Doesn’t even bear thinking about. The noxious fumes would just hang perpetually, never lessening and causing eventual pink-eye for the whole team. Now that’s sharing.
I guess we should remain objective and look at the possibilities this little foray could throw Ms Bridges way. Well, for starters she will be able to leap three times higher due to a significantly lower surface gravity. All well and good if you’re part-salmon but, unless you pack a space hopper, it could get decidedly old…fast! Oh…and the dust and rock Mars comprises of is a very rich source of iron. That’s about all I’ve got I’m afraid Stephanie. Now let’s consider the disadvantages.
Olympus Mons; the tallest mount in the entire solar system, standing 21km high and 600km in diameter, is a shield volcano located on the Red Planet. Many scientists are of the inkling that it may still be active so there’s an encouraging thought. Meanwhile the seasons are all off-kilter due to its elliptical orbital path round the sun, which means gargantuan dust storms which could potentially last for months at a time. Imagine the havoc that could wreak on your sinuses.
Of thirty-nine missions to Mars, only sixteen have been successful. Not the kind of odds to fill you with confidence are they now? I can imagine the tannoy already: “Thank you for flying Solar Air with us today. It’s currently 09:15 Mars time and there’s a fairly brisk red wind so I’d advise you to wear your helmets. We should be touching down in the next fifteen minutes or so and have around a 1:3 chance of not burning up on contact and bursting into flames”.
There’s no recorded life on Mars right? What about Marvin the Martian for crissakes? What is he, just scotch mist? Trust him with your last beef jerky would you? No, of course not. Mars Attacks after all. Even if intelligible life was discovered, who’s to say that four astronauts wouldn’t appeal to a Dune Nomad who hasn’t had a bite in years? It’s not too late to turn back Stephanie, if you’re reading this, grab yourself a teen pregnancy while you still can and you could side-step all of this. As for Keeper, I’m keeping my boots planted on solid ground.