Headlining many media outlets today will probably be the news that William Shatner has gone to space.
I never watched Star Trek. Priceline commercials get on my nerves. But I really love the show Boston Legal. I guess to me it’s slightly more interesting to think of this as Denny Crane heading out into space— and that mad cow disease didn’t get him after all. It’s too bad James Spader isn’t accompanying him.
The truth of it, for me, is that I just can’t get too excited about the prospect of space travel. I’ve never seen much of this world besides the Northeast corner of Alabama, and not even all of that. I’ve no interest in exiting the planet. I’m scared of airplanes and the paranoid part of me thinks to myself that all this space travel is simply for rich people who are looking for someplace to go when Earth is no longer inhabitable.
According to fortune.com, Jeff Bezos — founder of Amazon and Blue Origin, which is the company that got this space shindig together — spent $5.5 billion of his own money for the space flight which occurred in July. A seat alongside him was auctioned for $28 million. I’m glad to know that the measly few hundred dollars we spend a year ordering things from Amazon are going to good use.
Of course I know my pitiful Amazon spending makes no difference to Bezos or space travel, but the more I think about this the more sanctimonious I start to feel.
I think of all the good that could be done with billions of dollars here in this world, and I don’t understand what really appears to me as useless spending — I’m not saying space travel is actually useless spending. I’m just saying that’s what it seems like to me.
To be fair, Bezos did make a $790 million contribution to the climate crisis cause. Still, it pales in comparison to what he is spending on his space program.
I can’t fathom having that much money to burn through. Just imagine the idea of me being able to go out and buy any camper or tiny house that I wanted. I guess that would make up for maybe $30,000 of the billions at the most.
The more I think about it, the more it starts to feel like having all that money is for the birds and normal people probably shouldn’t sit around thinking about how they would spend nearly $200 billion.
Monday of this week I saw an orange butterfly crawling on the ground. Its wing was injured. It was struggling and the boy asked me what we should do. Let’s just leave it alone I said. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the lovely creature that once floated so effortlessly through the air and didn’t have to spend a dime to do it, would probably not live.
The next day, I was standing by the small bed of zinnias that I have left up for the birds and butterflies to enjoy until the frost zaps the flowers for the year. Down from the sky, fighting against the wind, came a majestic orange butterfly. It flittered from flower to flower and I watched it to see if it had a broken wing. I thought it might, though there is a chance I was just seeing what I wanted to see. I thought what a happy thing it would be if that butterfly with the broken wing had lived.
That butterfly might be insignificant, but it felt important for some reason. In the grand scheme of things, could I be wrong to feel that the survival of a wounded butterfly is somehow just as wonderful as the prospect of Captain Kirk going to outer space for a few minutes?
Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.