What a Great Day to be a Geek and Thank You Sir Richard
The dictionary defines a Geek as… “A peculiar person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual, unfashionable, or socially awkward….”I say what a great day to be a Geek. Say it loud and say it proud, this is Geek Day on planet earth.Sir Richard Branson’s trip to the edge of space today was one of the greatest advancements toward us regular folk strapping in and successfully achieving the dream of joining Kirk, Spock and Flash Gordon above the bounds of earth.
Yes, I happily admit I am one of those people; the ones who dreamed of escaping this planet and seeking adventures among the stars. My first story at the age of eight was about space travel so it started early in this Geek. Although no one has ever referred to me by that particular designation, I believe it’s because there is actually a bit of Geek in most of us. Oh sure we seek coolness in our manner and pretend to be aloof when someone talks about this or that particular episode of Twilight Zone. However is it a coincidence whenever you mention the episode To Serve Man, everyone is familiar and can tell you the end where we find out it’s a cookbook. Deny if you will, but no one was untouched or unexcited when Neil Armstrong hopped down that ladder and touched the moon. When John Glenn orbited the earth or now when Richard Branson unclasped his seat belt and flew weightless for four minutes to the edge of space.
Are we perhaps now a bit jaded by all these accomplishments? I imagine we are, after all we are living in the world of AI and robotics and everything has changed except for the contempt and disgust we feel for politicians, but I doubt that would be any different on any planet. So why am I so pumped about Branson’s flight, when at my age I wouldn’t even be a candidate for a quick ride myself? Simply put this is the culmination of a dream held since childhood. Going from watcher to doer. Actually being able to participate in space travel is as exciting to me as watching Babe Ruth hit that record breaking ball was to New York fans.
This is not the end, but the beginning and now that the barrier has been broken it will continue to move quickly toward ever more exciting new efforts and achievements. Oh yes, there is one small caveat of course. A seat on the Concorde was 12,000 dollars. A seat to fly to the edge of space is now $200,000. A bit out of the reach of most Geeks, unless of course you’re Bill Gates or Elon Musk or were lucky enough to sell your app to one of the big guys for a billion or so. Although I’d love to suit up for an adventure I’ve been dreaming of since my childhood I’m afraid it will probably be my grandchildren that are flying around, planet hopping and if I’m lucky they’ll be able to regale me with their stories of Mars and other such exciting destinations.
Sir Richard Branson was the first billionaire into space and won the race even beating Jeff Bezos who probably should have called Amazon to deliver him and might have gotten there quicker. I suppose for now it’s a rich man’s travel package, one that most of us earthlings can’t avail ourselves of at this time. But like all new discoveries and inventions, the price will come down. In the 1980s we paid upwards of 5000 dollars for a big screen television, now on Black Friday you can get one for a hundred if you’re willing to risk a few broken bones to get into the store.
So will we find space to be Lost in Space or Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey? Will it be filled with odd creatures that populate the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine? What is waiting for us up there in the star-filled blackness of space and will we be glad we ventured forth into this new frontier? I hope I’m able to get some of those answers in my lifetime. Although some may believe this is business as usual in space travel, I have to admit I’m a pretty happy Geek today and relatively certain there are a whole lot more of us today thanks to Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic .