My sister was the first to make me think of the moon as something more than a rock. Battling the vicissitudes of prepubescence through boybands and poorly applied makeup, she wrote an adage on her door, “Shoot for the moon, because if you’ll miss, you’ll still land among the stars.” At the time, I was young with nothing but the worries of Lego on my mind. Still, I told myself that this quote was the dumbest thing that I’ve ever heard. Not only would a person miss a star by a few million kilometers, they’d die in the attempt.
So instead I settled on something much more manageable. I decided right then and there that if I could go anywhere in the world, I’d go nowhere near it: I’d go straight to the moon.
Because if I were ever given the chance to truly go up there, the first thing I would do is settle the age-old debate of whether the ground is cheese or not. Next, I’d try to listen to the world spin. Then, I’d stare. I’d gaze over my previous Earthly home like never before. On nothing more than a sea of blue and white would be everyone I have ever known and will never know; my mother and father, my brother and sister, all the barbarians and peacekeepers, the politicians and poets, everyone that has ever loved and everyone that has ever chosen not to, the summation of a species’ work, progress, and inevitable disregard for both. Anything that was. Anything that will be. And all of it would be right before my eyes.
In a way, I’d feel significant in a Universe that was anything but.
But for most of my time on the moon, I’d be pretending that I could squish the Earth between my fingertips. This is because in the bleak background of black and white, I wouldn’t be able to be completely serious – especially not when I’m knee deep in the Milky Way. Heck, I’d be able to do anything I wanted to up there, and even gravity wouldn’t be able to keep me down as much as it used to. So I’d start by enjoying the Cosmic Concert reserved for me solely: the Space Jam as I’d call it. Meteors would collide to cue the drum solos, quasars would pulse light shows with a treat of gamma radiation, and interstellar planets like Saturn would be singing, “Put a Ring on it” while Pluto would belt out a tune, “One is the loneliest number.”
After, I’d open up a Space Bar out of boredom. I’d serve Moon Rocks, Neptune’s Barely-Any-Water, Jupiter Jumpers, and Pluto Treats, just in case someone with a pet ever past by. Unfortunately, because resources would be scarce, the last two would be more or less the same: moon rock. If customer did ever come by though, I’d tell them it was all cheese. I mean that gaff fooled the human race for a better part of twenty thousand years, so why not them too?
Sure. I’ll admit that my bar would lack the variety necessary to become an interstellar hot spot. And sure. I wouldn’t exactly have a customer base considering my distance from any living being, but I wouldn’t have a care in the world. Or at least, not a care on the moon.
Maybe one day I’d get noticed. Some lover would look at the moon one night, promising the impossible task of pulling it down for the beauty beside him because love wasn’t enough for her, and instead sees me there with my Space Bar. The man wouldn’t believe his eyes. He’d call NASA in a panic. NASA would be absolutely dumbfounded that they didn’t notice me before hand. They would suddenly wonder whose job it was to monitor the moon but they’d realize that all the funding went into monitoring Earth’s second moon named Cruithne, which revolves around the Earth every 738 years. For a while, they would laugh about the mistake. It’d be almost as funny as the time they forgot to convert Imperial to Metric. Almost as Challenging too. They ‘d tell themselves that such a mistake could happen to anyone. Then, they’d fire everyone responsible for it.
Mission Moon Man would be born from the hellfire of unemployment and twenty days later since my first sighting, the International Space Station would give me a buzz.
Alpha bravo, they’d say, we confirm the nut job has landed. I repeat, the nut job is on the moon.
What, Soaring Eagle? Mission control would reply back confused, a nut job? How’d a bunch of nuts get a job on the moon? Damn Chinese beat us to it again.
No, Alpha Bravo. Not that. Not yet. It’s the man on the moon. He’s got to be out of his mind if he’s there all alone. The moon’s a lonely place after all. What I’m saying is he’s got to be a little nutty, they’d explain.
Nutty, Mission Control would giggle like a child. Erm – Roger that, Soaring Eagle. Send him a signal so he knows we’re here. Watching. Waiting. Because what else can we really do when things take a very, very, very long time to happen in space.
Signal sent and received. Looks like he noticed the flare. He’s waving at us, Alpha Bravo. He’s waving and smiling.
For now, wave back. But don’t wave too much. We don’t want him to assume we are friends. Heck we don’t even know the guy, and we don’t like what we don’t know.
I like that because I know it, the astronaut in Soaring Eagle would reply.
Soaring Eagle? Mission Control, upon hearing the universal code name for distress, would call to scramble the jets, to arm every man, woman, and child because no sacrifice was ever too little, and to aim all the nukes at the moon.
He’s … sir. He’s moon-walking.
Solider – this is not a time for games. We’re armed to the teeth here. He’s what, Soaring Eagle?
He’s moon-walking unlike I’ve ever seen on Earth before. It’s fabulous, and even that is an understatement.
How good is he?
The best, Sir. The damn best moon-walker this side of the solar system.
By God indeed, Soaring Eagle. By God indeed.
So the conversation would go. In a few days, I’d make the covers of all the newspapers. Celebrities would pale in comparison to my meteoric rise in fandom. Even the annual issue of Dance Tonight!, a magazine reserved for the elite of the elite, would feature an article – no, a whole issue – on me. Some would say that space was certainly bubbling with stars, but I was the biggest one of them all. Others would claim that the Universe wasn’t so empty after all; it was filled with tremendous talent. Everyone, though, would agree that my presence was one small backward slide for man, one giant groovy glide for mankind.
For most of the time (and space as well), the Hubble Telescope would become my paparazzi, constantly fixated on my every move. So, I’d give them a show by wiggling this way and wagging that way. The reason? God may have created Paradise in seven days, but I’d be able to do better. I’d do it with a single shake of my hand.
With all the fame, though, I’d have to be realistic. I’d have to remind people that I was just like them once and the moon was not a god but a great big rock and the sun was one too and so like both, I was just a bunch of atoms coming together that could dance and they on Earth were just a bunch of atoms coming together that could do great stuff too and that they should try to reach for the moon if they’re going to get out of bed in the morning. If not, why get out of bed at all?
Luckily for me, my bed would be the moon. For this reason, everyone would know my name because like the moon, I’d become a soundboard for the lonely to talk to. Most of their prayers wouldn’t reach me, though. Still I’d try to do my best to listen. I’d tell them that I understand their problems, but I was up here and they were down there and I liked it up here because I wasn’t down there. People wouldn’t mind either. Heck, people would love me. Women. Men. The indeterminate; any sex would have an uncontrollable passion for me. I’m not narcissistic. Just honest. Everyone loves the moon and they’d love a moon man more.
And more than that, I wouldn’t mind it all because although I was straight, space and time were curved. So, I’d let everyone love my moves, and in turn, I’d love them for loving me. If there’s anything close to unconditional love, that’s it.
Because people would spend so much time adoring me, wars would end. Peace would ensue. Telescopes sales would rise. Put a man on the moon, and one will put hope, love, and every dream there too. No longer would humanity feel so alone in the Universe. There’d be a dancing man on the Moon. And even after I would die, my footprints would be carved into forever.
That, or I’d die of oxygen deprivation as soon as I get there.
In there own little ways, both outcomes would be pretty far out of this world.