This is because my bank doesn’t understand the phrase “No means no.” I went in to my local branch a month ago to have overdraft protection removed. Protection is a funny word, as the bank defines it. For them it means that you can keep using your card and withdrawing money, and they will “protect” you by letting you do this and charging you $33 per offense, no maximum. This is akin to letting the dudes from Tappa Kegga Bru watch your house and care for your Lladro collection. Or asking the guy with the gold teeth and teardrop tattoo to watch the cash register while you go to lunch. Whether you ask for it or not, the bank will set you up with $1000 worth of overdraft protection. I went in a month ago to have them stop protecting me. In the last week my account got hit five times with charges to the tune of $165. This morning I go back in and they admit to a mistake and back out four of the five charges. And if I hadn’t gone in person to protest? I’d still be bent over a desk, my pants around my ankles, mumbling phrases like “loyal customer”, snotty tears being ground into my face.
[long sigh followed by countdown from 10]
There. Now to more extra-terrestrial topics. We went to the moon! Six times! All the recent buzz about the moon got me excited about people in spacesuits, lunar rovers, and celestial rocks. Mother Internet can provide us with dozens of video clips from the Apollo missions. I expected them to be filled with terse command strings like, “Approach, vector two decimal eight seven. Contact.” But no! The guys up there chat with each other, say “goddamit” when they fall over, and generally act like coworkers chatting during the day. Except they are in space suits, and the sky over the horizon is deep black. And gravity is 1/6 what it is on Earth. I found myself addicted to these little movies, watching our astronauts working on a dusty rock 239,000 miles away, deep space drifting through their fingertips. Here’s one I like.
Here are videos from Apollo 17, and here are ones from Apollo 16. I don’t know if we’ll get to Mars in my lifetime. But I sure hope we keep exploring our little solar system. As expensive, dangerous, and possibly valueless exploration was for intrepid explorers like Magellan and Vasco de Gama, it was the right thing to do. Curiosity makes us human, and we ought to be striking out into the deep black of space as sailors disappeared over the blue horizon over the last millennium.