Steve Dix...Comedian?

Raptus Regaliter

Foraging for food in the bins beside the Information Highway.

29.07.2009 08:48 - Career

Major Tim is looking for a house in Cologne, says my ESA contact, who just met him at Harwell, as are all the new Astronauts.

This reminded me of my own futile attempts at searching for a career at school.

1982.  I am scheduled for an interview with my school's career master.  Now, they don't call it a career for nothing - in the sense of "an object moving at great speed, but with little or no control".  The careers master has already complained to my parents that I have shown little interest in the section of the library filled with pamphlets on such interesting life-choices such as joining the Navy and seeing bugger-all of the world whilst cooped up in a submerged nuclear submarine for six months with nothing else to do but make macrame owls, joining the Army to get shot at in Ireland or the Falklands (with a possible option of Iraq or Iran, depending on American Diplomacy), or going down the pit.  Whoopie.

No.  I'm a little more ambitious than that, and the sort of career I want isn't in the pamphlets.

I look the careers master in the eye, and say "I want to be an astronaut".

He stares at me for a long time, then gives me an answer that, at the time, summed up the state of the Space Programme in America, the likelihood of there ever being a manned space programme in the UK, and the tremendous competition and obstacles I would have to overcome based on my background.

"Astronauts," he said, "don't come from Rugeley.  How about a career in the Merchant Navy instead?"

Nine years later, Helen Sharman became the first British Astronaut.  I bet she didn't get told to join the Merchant fucking Navy.

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