Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cracked Humor

So Zach Oberman at Cracked.com created a new list in the “Funny Stuff” section, and for the mature audience who are not familiar with Cracked lists... well, you should open these on your home PC, not at work – I’ll leave it at that.

This is one of the tamer ones, entitled Five Jobs You Wanted as a Kid (And Why They Suck). They are: Fireman, Princess, Cop, Pilot and... Astronaut comes in at number one.

Oberman describes the stereotypes that lead youngsters to believe these occupations are cool, then proceeds to exorcise our collective naiveté by discrediting each with tales of boredom (fireman), inbreeding (princesses), the bully factor (cop), and more boredom (pilot). I can’t believe he skipped the obvious downsides of being a cowboy, since that’s where I thought the list was heading.

But no, he instead highlights the job requirements of those trained to travel in space: “a person has to be two-thirds Stephen Hawking, one-third someone who has awesome hand-eye coordination. NASA subjects astronauts to an endless series of grueling tests. Before they go to the celestial trampoline we call the moon, astronauts spend ten years keeping themselves in peak physical condition while essentially taking the SAT every day.”

NASA Astronauts in training
Even more helpful, he suggests this fun backyard activity to see if your kid has The Right Stuff:
  • Step 1: Go buy a van.

  • Step 2: Have the owner's manual translated into Russian.

  • Step 3: Tell your child the van is a space station, and their assignment is to rotate the tires.

  • Step 4: Push the van to the bottom of a swimming pool. Hand your child the translated manual, a toolbox and a balloon full of air.
He says nothing about how to perform CPR, how much bail money is standard for child abuse charges, what eventual legal defense is appropriate – or how much therapy your precious snowflake will require after you choke the life out of their space-faring fantasy. I assume that will be tomorrow’s list :)

For the curious, here’s a more realistic look at selection and training. He might be a whole lot funnier if actual astronaut auditions weren’t being held at Johnson Space Center as we speak, but – true to his point – less than 1% of this round’s nearly 4,000 applicants will make it.