Beyond The Lights In the Sky
Police officers, firefighters, astronauts and such lose their hero luster by about the time children reach middle school age. They're replaced by hip-hop performers and skateboarders. Who needs a 45-year-old scientist and applied microgravity research when you have Eminem discussing the merits of sexually abusing young girls?
It is around this age that youngsters discover sex, arrogance, self-absorption, self-aggrandizing, manipulation, deceit and general boorish behavior. There are some other elements that don't immediately come to mind, but you get the picture.
To be fair, a good many adults are absorbed in our own little worlds, asking not what we can do for our country, but what our country can do for us. We plow through our lot in life, increasing assets and decreasing debt, all the while trying to enjoy whatever creature comforts the fruits of our labor can provide. This is not brow-beating; it's a fundamental truth. It is life, I suppose.
But it is somewhere between point A and point B that a good many of us tuck away our youthful idealism and noble dreams. For most of us, these dreams are not practical or realistic.
There is much to admire about people who have evolved to the degree of studying the cosmos up close and personal. It is an altruistic endeavor, a thirst-quenching desire to learn and discover for the greater good of mankind. Prescient thinking cannot be found on a quarterly report; forward-looking statements come in the form of what possibilities lie ahead in the vast, unknown wilderness above our tiny planet. There are no projections, only discovery. Try selling that to the board of directors.
Astronauts certainly aren't status seekers, at least in the pop culture sense. They're more likely to be found on a PBS show discussing space's effect on photosynthesis rather than showcasing their new Humvee on MTV's "Cribs."