I don’t have much in common with rocket scientists, because, math, but there is one commonality. Blood.
You see, my grandfather (my dad’s dad) was a rocket scientist. I first discovered this when I found out he published Jet Propulsion for Aerospace Applications, 2nd Edition (which I, of course, promptly bought even though I can’t decipher a word inside). I re-discovered this fact when another one of his work legacies came into my possession not too long ago. It was then I realized I might have something else in common with those ridiculously smart rocket scientists: failure.
I’m really good at failing, especially of late. I’ve failed to buy a condo. I’ve failed to keep a car in working condition. I’ve failed to stop snacking on every single thing within my reach. I’ve failed to get a good night’s sleep (any night of the week). I’ve failed to take a step where my left foot doesn’t hurt. I’ve failed to feel something other than loneliness. I’ve failed to write anything worth publishing. I’ve failed to write anything merely for my own amusement. I’ve failed to even try.
As the failures piled up, I’ve been unable to see anything else. I clutched at the clear plastic cube. I traced its edges and studied the piece of the rocket within. The piece was from an explosion at, or shortly thereafter, its launch. You see, the scientists had to collect all the blown up bits and reassemble them to study what went wrong so it wouldn’t happen again. (I don’t know if the piece inside was the critical part of the second rocket’s success or the first rocket’s failure, but I like assume they were successful in mastering the rocket launch. I also like to assume my grandfather was an integral part of its success, hence, the trophy. Back then, trophies were for winners, not just participators… :))
To my mind, rocket scientists are brainiacs who never make mistakes and never get messy, but this blows all those notions out of the water, or umm, sky. To study something so you don’t make the same mistake again? Getting dirty as you crawl around in the dirt gathering every minuscule piece and particle? That is hard work. That is what it takes to succeed.
And so I will scrounge up the messy parts of my life, put them on a petri dish, and slide that under the microscope for further studying.
Woah, look at how scientific I already am! Maybe some of my grandfather’s (and father’s) mathematical and scientific sides did make it through the generations to me.