Playing Checkers with Elton John
By ice rivers
One day long ago, when Holcomb still existed and 15 years before Apollo, I was playing checkers with my grandpa on the porch of his small home next to a blacksmith shop that would eventually become a tavern after Holcomb had been swallowed by East Bloomfield.
“Danny Boy, do you think we’ll ever send a man to the moon”
“Not in my lifetime, son, but in yours.”
I believed him and he was right.
He died the day that the modern NFL was born. The famous game between the Giants and the Colts that made a legend of Johnny Unitas and turned football into a teevee phenomena. The moon was still a romantic mystery,
If I had asked him during that game of checkers if the moon was part of Mars and he said, “yup” I would have believed him wholeheartedly.
He had taught me how to play checkers. How can a kid doubt a teacher like that.
Three score and three years later, I am a grandfather seven times over. Last month, one of my grand-children taught me how to play solitaire on my computer. I’ve been playing continuously since that lesson.
During the lesson itself, Will asked me if I remembered the moon landing. I told him about Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. A few seconds later, he was tapping something into his cell phone. A minute after the tapping, he said, “ Grandpa Ice, only Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon. Collins never did.”
“That’s right, Will, Collins orbited around the moon while Neil and Buzz were walking on it.”
Will said, “Yeah, that’s right.”
Damned if the little shit hadn’t fact checked my ass right in front of my own spectacles.
Later that day, someone asked me the age of Elton John. I said he was my age. Two or three people over hearing the question tapped into their cell phones. When they found out Elton’s age, they asked me how freakin’ old I was. When I gave them the answer one of the guys said “ Goddam. You’re telling the truth about Elton." Over the course of the next half hour, all the guys were fact checking each other over the most trivial of observations/statements.
Why not? We live in era of disagreeability, upsmanship, suspicion and dueling alternative realities.
Take Donald Trump for example, please take Donald Trump.
Our president, according to fact checkers has “lied” over 11,000 times in his first 1000 days in office.
Of course, the president has his fact checkers checking the facts of the fact checkers who have checked him and several other organizations are monetizing their ability to fact check the fact checkers who are fact checking the fact checkers in order to prove that everybody’s making everything up which works well in the Fantasyland we call our home, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
We’re back in Holcomb playing a gigantic game of checkers.
About a year ago Mike Pence, our Vice President made a speech in support of NASA saying that the United States would be putting a man and a woman back on the moon within the next five years. The next day, our President, one upped his own executive partner and said we ought to forget about going to the moon as we have already done that and landing on Mars was the true ambition because “the moon is part of Mars anyways.”
That’s right, the moon is part of Mars.
Our president said so.
You can check it out as I’m sure you will and who knows I might be bullshitting about everything including, Holcomb, the blacksmith shop, the tavern, my grandchildren, solitaire and even Johnny Unitas
What difference does it make especially if the moon is part of Mars and Donald Trump is president?
Elton John is still 65, just like me.