The moon! People once believed it was made of cheese! Sadly, this is not true. Thanks a lot, science.
Recently, I’ve been giving the moon a lot of thought. When I launched the Patreon campaign to support these blog posts, one of the rewards for backers was suggesting a topic for a post. Annie Lynsen suggested, “How about something you learned in school, one of those things they REALLY drilled into you, that has ended up being completely useless information in adulthood?”
There are a lot a options. In fifth grade, an entire hour of my education was devoted to square dancing. My senior year in high school, I took a class called Wood Technology and learned how to freak out when a pothead accidentally sticks their finger in a router. In sixth grade, I was thrilled to hear we were going to do art projects based on the Vikings! Annoyingly, we had to draw pictures of the actual football team, The Minnesota Vikings.
I tried to take a fencing class in college, but I literally couldn’t find the door to the gym so I dropped it. That one is probably my fault.
Also, a big thanks to cursive handwriting which has never done a goddamn thing for me.
But the main thing that popped into my mind wasn’t actual curriculum. It was just the obsession of one strange human. My fourth grade teacher was named Mr. File. He was very kind but prone to sudden outbursts of screaming. (At least he yelled at us in class unlike my fifth grade teacher who used to go out to her car and wail at the heavens which was somehow more disturbing.)
Mr. File yelled at us about a lot of things–being kind, pencils are for writing not stabbing, and more. He once caught a kid drawing a swastika on his homework and launched into an impassioned speech about the true horrors of the Nazis. It was the first time I heard about the realities of the Holocaust. And it was in gruesome detail.
But the main thing Mr. File screamed about was the moon. He was convinced that he would not live on the moon in his lifetime, but his young students would.
Even then, as a scrawny young nerdling, I got the sense that Mr. File would really like to live on the moon and envied us. He was amazed by the advances in technology in his life, but also horrified by the atrocities of humanity. He was, in retrospect, a pretty old school geek with utopian views of a Federation of Planets type future full of spacesuits, reason, and peace among the stars.
In the middle of classes, Mr. File would suddenly shout, “IN YOUR LIFETIME–YOU ARE GOING TO LIVE ON THE MOON!”
It was very aggressive and sometimes sounded like an actual threat.
He would even use the moon as emotional leverage when we screwed up in class.
“YOU CAN’T MULTIPLY FRACTIONS? WELL, YOU MIGHT NEED TO–WHEN YOU LIVE ON THE MOON!”
“YOU DON’T KNOW WHY THE MAGINOT LINE WAS A BAD IDEA? WELL, YOU MIGHT NEED TO–WHEN YOU LIVE ON THE MOON!”
“YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO CONJUGATE VERBS? WELL YOU MIGHT NEED TO–WHEN YOU WILL HAVE BEEN LIVING ON THE MOON!”
So I always assumed, of course, humans will live on the moon.
But now it just seems like why? What is the point of living on the moon? What would be different? We’d just put a bunch of crappy strip malls up there. The moon would just be a very remote suburb. If we were lucky, there would be fancy malls and casinos. It would be like sad Las Vegas in space.
Everything would be the same but we’d stick the word “moon” in front of everything.
“Yeah, I drove my Moon Car to Moon Ikea and bought a Moon Desk and some Swedish MoonBalls.”
The main difference of living on the moon is that it would take us twice as long to say anything.
And we would physically move slower. The moon would be heaven for potheads. They could just bounce around eating Swedish MoonBalls and trying to avoid routers in shop class.
But I feel bad letting Mr. File’s dream die. So I gave some thought to a practical use of the moon.
Here’s my idea: If we actually did have the technology to live on the moon, I would want it to be a prison. I would want the moon to be a penal colony for people who are assholes on the internet.
Like the minute you respond to a tweet or a YouTube video or an article with something awful, you would teleported to the moon.
This brings up the thorny question of how you determine what a bad internet comment is? This is very easy. Do not begin any comment with the words actually, technically, or a picture of a penis.
Basically, if you imagine saying your comment to a real live person and their immediate response would be to punch you in the throat, then you’re going to the moon.
Soon the moon would be full of trolls and the only thing the moon trolls would be allowed to do is write Yelp reviews of the moon itself.
All the reviews would be things like: “This moon sucks dicks.” And somehow the words moon, sucks, and dicks would all be misspelled.
The great hope of technology is that it will actually make us better. That faster communication will allow us to exchange ideas and understanding and empathy, not just be a supersonic rocket to Asshole Town.
Given that argument, I suppose Mr. File would not be thrilled with my idea of making the moon a prison planet for jerks. I also don’t think Mr. File really wanted to live on the moon so he could wear a cool spacesuit and slowly bounce over to Moon Arby’s for some Moon Curly Fries.
I think Mr. File probably wanted to live on the moon to get a little closer to making the fantasy of a better world a reality. He probably wanted us to be a little proactive. Instead of just saying “Haters gonna hate,” he probably wanted us to learn and say something like “Haters gonna get exposed to thoughtful critiques that systematically break down damaging social norms.”
So I guess I did learn something from Mr. File screaming at me about the moon. I’ll do my part by trying to say something kind and intelligent to someone on social media today.
I’ll enjoy my memories of a kind, wistful old man yelling, “YOU’RE GOING TO LIVE ON THE MOON!”
I’ll put the memories through emotional autocorrect and it will come out, “YOU’RE GOING TO LIVE ON THE MOON! PLEASE DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE UP THERE!”
Thanks, Mr. File.
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