Space Chimp Lives!

by JOHN GALLAHER

 

 

Also known as Ham the Chimp or Ham the Astrochimp, 
he was the first hominid launched into space, and this is
how I think of myself, most days, the canary who keeps
on breathing.  That’s not a fine enough point.  Here, the
thing is that home is the process of finding yourself at
home, how the destination is the process, there’s no place
to get to, there’s only the getting to a place.  The fact that
the Space Chimp lives isn’t the point, but that we are the
Space Chimp.  Fat lot of good that does the Space Chimp, 
who also had a real life and then died about the time I was
born.  Context is everything.  Today I read how someone
at a museum dropped a pair of glasses on the floor in a
gallery, facing out, near the wall, and people started to
gather around it and take pictures.  Space Chimp Lives.  
Don’t get me wrong, I also don’t know what to say in
desperate moments, when you’re sharing your devastation
and pain.  I’m very sorry for your loss.  That’s what we do, 
along with a little cute picture of a crying face, downcast
with one little tear.  How can this be anything other than
an offense?  The Space Chimp lives, when it wasn’t expected
to happen.  It’ wasn’t expected not to happen either.  Maybe
a 60/40 thing, being the first hominid shot into space.  Like
the first person to try putting cinnamon in red sauce.  The
answer is yes, where life itself is more a spilling of marbles
across a floor.  Say, for instance, you’ve just been strapped
into a tight bucket seat and shot into space, and you think of
the “Hell in a handbasket” line, and you break out laughing.  
Well, there you go, comic genius.  And we break out that
song where we’re going to where the water tastes like wine.