On the Eve of a Grand Space Voyage, by Jeremy Freeze

spacemen
Good evening, distinguished members of the world’s first interplanetary exploration team. As you prepare both physically and mentally for the arduous journey that lies ahead, please allow me to remind you of some vital practices that could make the difference between life and death on this monumental voyage.

Firstly, and I know you’ve all heard this many times, but I think it certainly bears repeating, it is extremely important that you remember to close the door of the spacecraft before launch has commenced. We have yet to make it through a single simulation without everyone falling out of the ship, and although that’s all fine and good for a test-run, ideally we’d like to have at least one person left inside the spacecraft by the time it gets off the ground, if only to drive it back so we can try again. Also, the last thing we need is for you guys to get up into space and for an alien or, God forbid, a demon to come in through the open door and claim the spacecraft for its own planet or dimension. We paid a lot of money for that ship, and we’d prefer that it stays in whatever dimension this is.

This brings me to my next point of concern: what to do when encountering life-forms from other planets. Now, we know you’re only human, and that your first instinct will probably be to remove your helmet and give the aliens some kisses. However, we must insist that you resist this urge. Although a kiss may not mean anything here on Earth, like when your wife kisses your neighbour or that guy she works with, it’s very possible that these alien species will view this action as some sort of romantic gesture. Also, it should be noted that if you take your helmet off, your head will almost certainly explode. There is also a slight possibility that it will implode, but, to be honest, this is only marginally more desirable than the explosion scenario. 

Any questions so far? Okay, great. Let’s continue. Now, I have to admit, it’s a little concerning that in almost every simulation to date you guys have set course directly for the sun. It’s extremely important that you remember, and I can’t stress this enough, that the sun is not a planet. In your defense, it is a big space circle, and usually that’s a good thing. However, the problem is that it’s also a fire circle, and, in terms of things to walk around on, that’s not good. In fact, it’s borderline bad. This also seems like a good time to point out that your other most common trajectories — crowded metropolitan areas and small groups of endangered animals — are, like the sun, not ideal destinations. Generally speaking, and let’s try and keep this distinction in mind for tomorrow’s launch, cities and animals are rarely planets, whereas planets almost always are.

All right, just one more thing and I’ll let you all get some rest before the big day. It has come to my attention that, throughout the training process, many of you have been making love to my wife. I’m not sure how confusion first arose in this matter, but I’d like to take this opportunity to inform you that love-making, particularly in regards to my beautiful wife Jeanette, is in fact not vital to the success of this mission. I realize that this has never been explicitly stated, and for that I apologize, but if you folks could refrain from engaging in passionate sexual intercourse with my wife between now and tomorrow’s launch, it would be greatly appreciated. Obviously, I will ask Jeanette to do the same.

Great. Well this concludes our final briefing session together before tomorrow’s launch into unexplored regions of outer space. Please allow me to wish you good luck and godspeed on what is sure to be an extremely difficult, yet deeply rewarding, voyage. And always remember, when times get tough out there, that everyone you know and love is back here on Earth, and there is a good chance that you’ll never see them again or that they’ll eventually just forget about you. Probably both, actually.

Jeremy Freeze is a teacher and writing guy currently living in Toronto.  Sometimes he writes stuff on Twitter, but you can also give him a shout via e (electronic) mail.

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