Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving In Space and On Earth

Times are a bit lean here at the Compound this fall, but not so lean to not be thankful as required by the upcoming National Holiday. I do my best to comply with such National policy.

If you live in the United States, you have much to be thankful for which the rest of the human folk on this planet still yearn to grasp for even a moment. Not to say that folks inside this nation live on unicorns and rainbows on the Eternal Happy Good Time Happy Show. Real suffering, real pain, is never as distant as we might imagine. But for the most part, just being an American puts us in a luxuriant lifestyle.

I do try and remind myself daily of how well off I am -- a tasty, hot cup of coffee in the morning, or at any time I wish to have it, is a fine and wonderful thing. An oddity of life is that sometimes not having that good cup of coffee can make me thankful for the times when I do have it. And really, I'm hardly into the massive list of good things in my life - I'm talking a beverage here. Still, for centuries past, humans had to travel half the world and back just to get one. So I try and remember that. Makes that coffee taste mighty fine.

It is easy indeed to consider our lives to be mired in hellish discontent. The trappings of our world bellow at each of us to Be or Do or Change or Act or Buy or Sell or Own or Dispose of thousands upon thousands of Somethings. And all those urges to fiddle around with our Life's Personal Settings are actually a good sign, something which shows us that we can perceive we are Here and we might do better if we were There.

Here is a small but significant item for which I am thankful on this pre-holiday day: I am glad I am not waiting for the Urine Recycler Machine to start working properly. It's the folks floating above the planet on the International Space Station waiting for that.

While I marvel still at the ISS and the efforts of human space travel, I would hate to have to be told things like:

An attempt by astronauts to repair a new water recycler designed to convert urine into drinkable water met with mixed results Sunday aboard the International Space Station.

"A separate sweat and wastewater processor has been working more or less as expected."

When it comes to my urine and waste processing turning into drinking water, "working more or less as expected" is really not so good. Even if I heard "Hey! It works great!" I would still eye that serving of drinking water with some concern.

They also have to maintain and ensure the operations of a $250 million dollar life support system. I have to maintain my own (as do you) but it does not cost that much. (Costs may rise quickly as the current recession continues into 2009.)

Here is my hope and plan for this Thanksgiving Day 2008 - to travel safely so I can share a good meal with some of my family and friends. I truly wish each of you could experience some of that shared goodness too.


  1. you always make the holidays make more sense mi amigo! thanx

  2. As this is my last day of work - yep, laid off the day before Thanksgiving - perhaps I should consider a career change to Urine Recycler Repair(wo)man.