Distress Signal

The year is 1978 and the U.S.A has just launched a team of astronauts into space. The United States was happy to see the launch on their color T.Vs in that month of May.

The NASA Houston Port receives a distress signal and a mid-level employee picks up the call.

“This is Houston Port, we hear your loud and clear Astronaut Goldman.”

“Hey guys, this is Astronaut Jim Goldman On Space Shuttle 602.”

“Yes Astronaut Godlman, we are aware”

“Please, just call me Jim.”

“You got it Astronaut Jim. Please inform us of your reason for a radio distress signal.”

“Oh right, um, well I don’t know how else to tell you this but…I am..

Astronaut Jim gulps. You know, one of those gulps that seem comically enhanced. Except this time it was real, and Houston Port was tuning in.

..afraid Houston Port. I’m afraid.”

“Afraid of what Astro Jim? Your shuttle seems to be cruising along nicely and all of our readings are perfect”

“ Yes, that’s good. But I am afraid of this. All This. Being an Astronaut, going in space. This whole situation terrifies me and I am now just realizing it.”

“Astro Jim, you do realize that you’re about 113,000 mile outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, right?”

Astro Jim checks his dashboard and sees his mileage from Earth constantly going up and fidgets in his seat nervously.

“Yes Houston Port, I can see that on my radar.”

“Where has the rest of your crew gone? Why haven’t they tried to assist you?”

“Well Houston..

Astronaut Jim gulped again.

..they made fun of me.”

“Sorry could you repeat that? We believe we heard you say that they made fun of you.”

“That’s correct Houston Port. Those guys can be real jerks, but they have good hearts. So please don’t tell on me”

The mid-level employee looked around looking for assistance, his team all shrugged.

“Don’t worry, we will omit it from our recordings. Is that what you’re afraid of? Being bullied in space?”

“Sort of but not completely. I mean, what if we blow up, you know? That’s scary to think about.”

The Houston Port crew all looked around at each other as if they didn’t have the answer. One entry-level scientist from Houston Port grabbed her personal radio.

“We have done several thousand tests to ensure you that you will not blow up.”

Astro Jim leaned back in his chair a bit.

“Phew, I knew that was true its just great to hear you guys say it.”

The entry-level employee gave a thumbs up to her crew, they smiled.

“No problem. Are you comfortable enough for radio silence?”

“Um. Yeah. I think I am good. Thanks Houston Port.”

“It’s what we are here for. Now go make the USA proud.”

“Copy that Houston. Over and out.”

(12 Minutes Later)

The distress signal at the Houston Port begins to ring and buzz again. Both sounds are equally annoying. A senior staff member answers on his personal radio.

“Yes Astronaut Goldman, how can we assist your distress signal?

“Please, just call me Jim.”

The senior level employee shakes his head disapprovingly.

“How can we assist you, Jim?”

“Ok, so I’ve been thinking.”

The entire Houston Port looks at each other and begins to get comfortable in their seats. The senior staff member clears his throat and continues with protocol.

“What have you been thinking about, Jim?”

“Well, what if we encounter something unknown?”

A mid- level scientist chimes in on his radio.

Well, Astro Jim, that’s sort of the whole point to space exploration. To discover the unknown.”

The mid level employee smiles as if he always wanted to say that.

“Good point. But what if we discover something unknown that we really shouldn’t have discovered?”

The senior employee begins to reply but the mid level scientist stops him and puts his hand up like “I got this.” Which pisses off the senior employee but he realizes that it’s for the best because he doesn’t have an answer.

“Astro Jim, can you elaborate?”

“Well, say you’re in the woods and you discover a bear. I’ve never seen a bear in the woods but I know I shouldn’t get closer and poke it in the name of science. You follow me?”

Everyone at Houston Port begins to shake their heads and rub their temples, mostly because they saw all the senior employees do it and thought it was protocol. But everyone truly knows that this is the most action they have seen in a while so they all still listen in as the mid level scientist calms Astro Jim down.

“Yes, Astro Jim. We follow you. However, we sent you up there to explore the unknown and we wouldn’t have done it if you weren’t the best man for the job.”

“Thanks. I knew I was worrying too much.”

“Are you OK for radio silence? We have a lot of paperwork to do here down on Earth.”

“You got it, gang. Radio silence from here on out.”

The mid level scientist smiles and looks around for compliments but everyone seems to have started their paperwork.

(4 Hours Later)

Astro Jim clicks on a radio recorder from the dispatch control panel. The device was designed to record the last radio signal from Shuttle 602 in case of a deathly emergency.

“Ok, I know I am not supposed to use this device for any other reason other than certain death, I’m sorry.”

Astro Jim looks around the shuttle and crawls under the control panel so no one hears or sees him. Even though he is quite loud and bulging out from under the control panel.

Astro Jim clicks the red button he was trained to press.

“It’s just that I feel a little guilty out here. I am pretty sure I agreed to be an astronaut just because I went through all of the steps.

One day I am an upper level scientist working in the lab and I get the opportunity to be trained by NASA, what scientist wouldn’t want that?  I would be a dick to say no.

Only now I am afraid and isolated in space I am starting to realize that maybe someone else would enjoy this more.

I’m a steak and eggs, simple scientist from Tucson, Arizona. I don’t need the unknown to be amazed. I just need my wife Darlene and my son Junior. Heck, I’d even add that ol’ smelly Chihuahua of ours. I just hope I make them proud. That’s all I think anyone should ever do. Make their family proud.”

Just then, Astro Jim’s entire consol begins to light up. It’s a beautiful glow, not exactly blue but that’s the best way he can register it. The glow was growing bigger and more fantastic just outside his window.

Astro Jim looked at his monitors and sees the rest of the crew messing around in the kitchen making space burritos. He doesn’t feel the need to radio them.

Astro Jim stares at the Unknown Glow and feels that he shouldn’t be recording it. He got the feeling that if he recorded his findings, it wouldn’t be as unique. He felt that he should only be feeling it. Perhaps Astro Jim was the one who was supposed to experience The Unkown Glow on that entire Shuttle 602 all along?

After a few more seconds of heavenly glow, Astro Jim had to say something.

“I just want to say on record. That life itself is better than The Unkown It’s important to recognize what’s in front of you, rather than what’s out there.”

Astro Jim didn’t really know what that exact moment meant, he sort of felt like he was supposed to say something, anything. So that’s what he said. And just as he said it, the heavenly glow was gone. Nothing was left but Jim and the recorder.

Only he didn’t record the message into the control panel last-words device like he thought. No, Astro Jim recorded his sentiment to Houston Port radio. Had he known that all along? Fortunately a lower intern who was hired to work the night shift, wrote down Astro Jim’s words and put them in a desk because at this point, everyone had grown tired of Astro Jim’s voice.

(3 minutes later)

Shuttle 602 was blown to pieces by an unknown glow.

(30 Years Later)

NASA decided to clear the Houston Port unit for lack of funding and discovery. The desk was offered to the lead janitor on call and he gladly took it.

The lead janitor took it home and quickly realized it wouldn’t fit in his studio apartment. So he decided to list it on Ebay. It sold for a modest amount of money to an eager buyer.

The buyer was excited when his “Official NASA High Level Desk” arrived on the front porch. He knew exactly what it was when he saw it online. It took two deliverymen to take it out of the truck and drop it on the front steps of:

 “Junior Goldman 157 Echo Creek, Tucson AZ”

Junior Goldman set the desk up near the window where he could get proper sunlight and feng shui. Junior Goldman wasn’t an astronaut like his dad, but he enjoyed space.

Curiosity ran in the Goldman family, so Junior explored every crease to the desk to see if any etchings or info from his father’s time at Houston Port were still left in the over sized desk.

After kicking away some old pencils and a red NASA visitor’s button, Junior snagged a corner of something in the way back of the drawer, the area where things get lost and no one remembers, or cares if they find it.

Junior pulled out the crumpled piece of paper that was stuck between the drawers. It was his father’s last words scribbled down by an intern. It’s like Junior had known it was there the whole time. He framed the note and let it sit in the glow of the sun for years

NASA never figured out the Unknown Glow that took the life of Astro Jim and the crew. Mainly because after that phenomenon, may of the entry to mid-level employees quit their jobs to spend more time with their families. The case was quickly closed and never opened. Perhaps the exploration and words of one man- meant the world to another?

Available For Hire

SMALLTONVILLE DAILY READER

Saturday October 3rd 2015

Section: Classifieds, musicians A

Available: Professional and experienced whistler extraordinaire for covers or originals. I bring my own equipment and leave my ego at home. I am ready to play, all I need is a tune and a glass of water (or beer). Just kidding, I have been sober 6 years- but I don’t judge. I am trained in multiple genres. Strong focus on folk music, specifically from 1954-1972.

By the off chance I am not home to receive your call, please leave a message with my wife, Darlene. You will have to speak clearly and loudly because a firecracker left her half deaf last Fourth of July. My email is below because the paper company told me I had to leave it…but please do not email me! I forgot my password months ago and I can’t seem to log in. I am still waiting for my grandson Nicholas to come by and help. He says he is busy on Saturdays but I know he quit the soccer league and has a completely open schedule to help his Grandpappy on the computer for an hour or two.

NICHOLAS! If you see this PLEASE HELP ME WITH MY EMAIL. I WANT TO WHISTLE IN A JAM BAND. I HAVE THE CAPS LOCK ON AND I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TURN IT OFF CAN YOU HELP ME WITH THAT TOO?

Email: WhistlingRickyFromTheCity@Netscape.Net

Two weeks from now

A lot is going to change in your life two weeks form now. Good and bad. You can’t deny that you’ll be a different person in two weeks time. You may already be in the middle of a life-changing situation and in two weeks you’ll see the conclusion to your decision. Maybe you’ll have to make a life changing decision in two weeks. The point is…well…maybe there is no point.

Whatever point there is- it’s probably going to change in two weeks.

Now go return that call from your Mom that you’ve been putting off for a week.

My Apologies

 

Dear Trailblazerblogger43,

I’m sorry- but I’m the guy that walked through your picture. I didn’t mean to, I swear. But we both know it happened and I am pretty sure you’re upset because if you tried to upload your photo to your travel blog, you saw a photo with a pale, white man in a business shirt that was in a hurry to catch his train- obviously not the type of photo that would get a lot of interest on your amateur content site.

Look, again, I’m sorry. You probably spent a lot of money traveling to New York City but you’ve got to understand, people live here and have places to go. We aren’t all tourist.

I don’t say that in a mean way, I am just trying to defend myself a little bit. Let me paint a picture of reality…I live here and I probably end up in hundreds, if not thousands of pictures a year- especially since I commonly use Grand Central Terminal as a way to see my folks in Poughkeepsie.

If I were to jump and sway my myself out of every camera pointed at me, I would be volunteering for a task that I do not want to do. My time is limited as it is and even if I was dedicated to this task, I would probably only avoid thirty percent of the photos…a failing rate.

Thank you for your understanding. Hope you enjoyed your vacation in the greatest city in the world. NYC. The Big Apple, baby.

P.S- you were facing the sun. When I took a photography class in college, the professor told us to always have the sun behind us to accent your focal point.

So, to be honest- your picture was probably ruined from the start.

Safe travels home.

Life Cycle

As you may have noticed from scrolling through the pages of this here website, I don’t exactly have consistency with the type of content that I post. If I was still a “professional” blog writer, my editor and SEO marketing manager would tell me to fix that so I can maintain my minimum wage job status while struggling through cancer recovery..(breathe).

Sorry- did I get off on a tangent?

Anyway, happy to report that I no longer take orders from a blog manager, influencer, SEO commander, or whatever-the-hell they are calling themselves. Don’t get me wrong, there jobs aren’t easy, but that life isn’t for me. (He said while he continued to write his personal blog for free).

Look, I didn’t really plan on posting that much on here. But my ego got super boosted when I saw that a lot of people seemed to have been responding to what I post. So I did what any good American would do and decided to feed me ego and get ta writin’ sum more.

Side note: In my opinion, ego isn’t bad. It’s just the way you execute it…Kanye, A-Rod, and (probably) Leonardo DiCaprio would say it’s confidence and not ego that drives them. Personally, I think confidence is ego with Ray Ban sunglasses on. Neither are bad, but too much of the other will probably leave you crying in the shower…or as I call it “Tuesday.”

Man, did I get off topic. Bare with me, kinda free flowing all of this because I have been so backed up with words for so long…(ahem).

Life: what is it? why are we here? And what is better than a good turkey sandwich?

I ask these important questions because my good friends at Facebook like to have “memories” and that is what sparked this post..

I don’t have to tell you that life is weird and can’t be explained by anyone. If someone tells you they have the secret to life- ask them how much it costs and then report them to the Better Business Bureau.

Heres how Facebook wanted to let me know that life’s content isn’t consistent:

4 Years ago: I was in chemo therapy at Sloan Kettering receiving treatment and being delivered amazing banana bread (s/o to Sofiya Alexandra) totally fogged and detached. Although I think I did some writing..

8 years ago: I was working in Los Angeles and performing at iO West theatre (RIP). Our group “First World Problems” was on a long run of successful shows, depending on who you ask.

9 Years ago today, I got in my car and moved to Los Angeles. Slept on couches (s/o to Phil Tipping) until I landed in a sweet house in Eagle Rock, CA on an air mattress that had just sprung a leak…I then called my Mom to tell her how well I was doing.

10 years ago today: I boasted about making a great Turkey Sandwich.

Your biggest Influencer you follow on Instagram doesn’t need to tell you that life has ups and downs. I just told you that, so like, don’t read their post..just scroll past it; please keep reading this one though because I promise I am almost done.

(clears throat and straightens clip on tie)

I will never forget an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine when Detective Jake Perelta (Andy Samberg) misses out on a date with Lt. Amy Santiago ( Melissa Fumero) to a well respected and super-star colleague: Detective Dave Majors (Garret Dillahunt).

SPOILER ALERT!

The episode ends with Amy not having a great time with Dave on a date they had, mostly because she had eyes for someone else in the precinct… Jake runs into him and says “you must be pretty bummed you two didn’t hit it off.”

Dave simply replies with: “Not really, I can’t wait to see what happens to me next” and walks off.

THAT is the line that I always remember when the world is upside-down because to Dave Majors, there was no up or down..there just was- and he couldn’t wait to see what life is.

I’m going to post this on Facebook so I get a memory of memories that I shared because I want to remember how happy I am today. (S/O to my amazing wife Jade and our “sweet pea”).

 

*S/O to the writers of Season 2 Epsisode 21

 

Imagine That

 

Christopher, a young boy sits at the edge of the bed and begins to talk to his best friend.

Hi, Mr. Jinksy thank you for seeing me today, would you like a cookie? My mom made them fresh and I told her to burn them a little bit, just how you like them. Oh you don’t want a cookie? You sure? Because I am only going to offer it once…

Christopher sets down the tray of cookies next to him and wipes his hands. 

Now, lets get down to what I wanted to talk to you about. As you know, we’ve been friends for, well since I could count. You’ve helped me through thunderstorms, cleaning my room, and even offered me advice on what clothes I should wear and I can’t thank you enough.

(sigh)

But it needs to stop Mr. Jinksy.

You see, I know you’re real but I also know I imagined you.. I think it’s time to say goodbye. It’s not that I don’t love our time together or that I imagined another friend, not at all. The reason for this parting is because I think you and I both knew this day would come and it’s up to me to be the one who breaks the bond.

Listen, this isn’t completely goodbye. I wouldn’t mind it at all if you dropped by every once in a while on holidays or for big life events, just give me a heads up so I can make myself available, I’m almost 8 and I have a lot coming up.

I hope you didn’t think I was just going to cast you off into the dark world alone. No, I set up some meetings with younger kids in the neighborhood that would love your company; most of them have the same sense of humor as you so it’ll be a great match.

Thank you for everything Mr. Jinksy. Good luck in life and I hope to see you again soon.

Christopher performs an intricate handshake with his imaginary friend and waves goodbye after wiping a tear from his face.

Wait Mr. Jinksy. I changed my mind! I’m not ready to lose a friend. Come back! I was wrong!

Christopher looks around the room

Mr. Jinksy?

Checks another spot

MR. JINKSY?!?

 Finally under the bed. Nothing.

(Sigh)

*Christopher kept his promise and set up those meetings. Mr. Jinksy was matched perfectly with a 5-year-old girl down the street named Penelope. Mr. Jinksy kept his promise as well; he visited on holidays but couldn’t make it to Christopher’s graduation because he already promised Penelope to be there for her driving test.

Christopher went on to create “Imagine App” A full service application device (with parental controls) that pairs young kids with imaginary friends that are available and nearby. He now owns a luxury condo in Boulder, CO with his wife and daughter whom he shares his slightly burnt cookies with on special occasions.

 

 

 

 

Hello Again!

First off, I want to thank all of you who have said kind words over the past few years. I can happily say that I have recovered well and I am successfully cancer free.

What have I been up to, you ask in your head?

Well, a lot actually- but I won’t bore you with all the details and then try to wrap it up in some witty way. The point is. I am doing great. Oh! I will tell you that I have moved to NJ and have an absolutely, smart and beautiful daughter.

What’s her name, you ask in your head?

I can’t tell you. Why? (you say out loud because now you’re getting annoyed). Well, if you’ve noticed, Google has taken over the world and you can look up anything at anytime. Don’t believe me? Google any two words and you’ll find something helpful and also disgusting.

First two words that popped into my head: Mustard Party.

I don’t feel like Googling “Mustard Party” because, my point is- EVERYTHING IS ONLINE! I don’t want my daughter’s life out their on the cyber nets for eyeballs to read. She can’t even crawl yet and I don’t want her pictures or name online to haunt her later in life because we all have embarrassing child photos, even if our parents only meant the best. If she chooses to make a Youtube account (owned by Google) later in life then she can. As long as it’s age appropriate material.

So, you may be asking yourself internally- “Why the hell is Mark writing this.”

Well, for a few reasons. Since having a daughter and now having a family of my own. I have been getting like, super eager to create.

I mean..I created LIFE what else can I do! (is what I say to myself at night in my head).

So I just wanted to say “hello” and “thank you” to all of the followers and subscribers out there. In future, I will be posting casual content for easy reading, music that I have written or want to share, and maybe a doodle or two.

I hope you’re all doing well, safe, and happy. I look forward to growing with you all.

(He’s right, that wasn’t witty at all) you say in your head.