Mary Roach's Packing for MarsIn one of my very first posts on The Nerge, I ranted about how NASA Hates Me, which was about my attempting to fill out an astronaut application. More recently, I wrote that reading My Dream of Stars by Anousheh Ansari made me realize that my affinity for puking probably completely disqualified from ever making it into space. Most recently I read Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars, which unequivocally confirmed that I am woefully physically deficient in what it takes to be an astronaut, especially when it comes to puking and fidgeting.

I have to admit I did not read the book in its entirety. This is because Roach just adores all things repugnant. She loves to linger in details about corpses, shit, and puke. I guess this is no secret to anyone who has glanced at her book Stiff. But I was woefully unprepared for how much she writes about gore and ick and I have a pretty low tolerance for The Gross. This is despite the fact that I worked in animal surgery for a time and had to deal with many things gruesome, horrible or just yucky; somehow in that context I could handle it. (Except dog shit, which is the most disgusting substance on the planet. How thousands of owners spend their days picking it up is really beyond me. But anyway…)

Maybe it’s that I can handle it, or I can tolerate it when it has to due with animals who are not humans, but I really cannot read pages and pages about vomit, or gore, or dead bodies. I cannot. And as I read Roach’s book, I realized that if she even hinted at these topics, if therewas even a whiff of gross out, than a major turd bomb was imminent. And I learned to skip ahead. Thus, I read as much of the book as I could.

If I had left any hope of being an astronaut, this book snuffed them out. Although I am calm in emergencies and tense situations, I think at this point I’ve read enough about space being The Great Nauseator to convince me that space would be one long nausea roller-coaster for me. Also there’s the irrational animosity, something which astronauts and other normal folk experience from being in close quarters with a small group of people, but I experience just working in an office. I realized the bile I experience when my coworkers open their mouths and spew trite, boring words is completely irrational, and that they are nice people trying to have a conversation, but the hostility is tenacious. So I imagine that on the ISS I would experience murderous thoughts with abandon, especially since I couldn’t go hike in the Contact incessantly and pretending that I’m Dr. Ellie Arroway, minus the crush on Matthew McConaughey.

NOTE: In the following clip, you probably want to skip ahead to 1:30.

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One Response to “NASA: Never mind. And: thoughts on Packing for Mars.”

  1. I’m so high | the nerge on December 16th, 2014 7:51 pm

    […] Perhaps I was also distracted for a bit by my fantasy of being an astronaut. […]

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