You need no ticket to make a place for yourself here where humor, black and otherwise, comes to you from the stage where the human comedy itself is being played, its performance trumping the things dark and tragic and found in the world of literature.
2001, a space memory
The picture was taken with only seconds before liftoff of the Atlantis. It was carrying a section of the International Space Station, delivering a piece of a manmade puzzle to the uncaring heavens.
The film had been left in the camera over a year's time and the picture's yellow tinge, like a photographic cataract, blurred the event and threw the moment out of focus and beyond facile comprehension. That sepia tone image let the uninformed place it in the first days of the space race. The central subject proved this chronology a lie.
We’d earlier visited the Kennedy Space Center -- a hybrid of sideshow and actual rocket science in awesome fruition, equal parts hokiness, Barnumesque PR and red, white and blue puffery.
From these grounds ordinary (yet instantly glamorous) men and women, "loose the chains of gravity, to rise to renown beyond the stratosphere”, said our guide. Those who swell with pride at such things routinely and unashamedly burst here.
There came a low murmur of excitement as our bus passed behind the VIP bleachers. All that was visible of the Atlantis from this groundling viewpoint, peeking over the gantry, was the tip of its bright orange fuel tank -- a massive mutation of Florida’s favorite fruit, full of the juice that would vault the crew to fame. Even the most cynical momentarily lost their breath at the thought.
Back home a look to the right off our third floor balcony above the long flat beach gave a prime view. A nearly full moon hung above the sea in the dusk, as the shuttle launched at 6:15 and sped away like a sky surfer, leaving a celestial wave to slowly break in morphing and dissipating sunset hues.
At 7:00 an Egret flew up to our vantage point. It returned our gazes in equanimity, though it had arrived through a transport of fear.
With fire and scientific thunder a smoky trail had been left in the bird's sky, a giant question mark it would never understand.