Between morning gulps of lukewarm coffee and an English muffin devoured with the speed of Mercury, a funny thing happened on my way to wiping the sleep out of my eyes and beginning a brand new day; an article from our questing muchachos over at The Hollywood Reporter made an absurd claim that William Shatner – Captain James Kirk himself – was prepping for an actual trip into outer space aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin spacecraft. I double-checked myself: Was it April Fools’ Day Redux? Had I become a victim of an elaborate practical joke by some wayward friend I had inadvertently slighted over the years? Once I had time to sit down and fully digest my breakfast – and my thoughts – it became crystal clear that this was no Marvel Comics “What If” scenario, but rather a very real thing. William Shatner, the man who commanded the Starship Enterprise throughout five seasons of classic science fiction series Star Trek, is about to blast out of our orbit and boldly go where no man has gone before. For real. You can’t make this stuff up, Dear and Constant Reader.
This morning as I was falling out of bed and combing my teeth as I brushed my hair (MMMM, minty), billionaire Jeff Bezos announced that on October 12 actor William Shatner would be blasting off into space as an honest-to-Pete crewmember of the New Shepard NS-18. At the tender age of 90, this will effectively make Shatner the oldest person to ever venture out into space.
In a press release announcing the unlikely news, Shatner explained that “I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle.”
Setting aside the whole surreal aspect of this just-announced endeavor, there’s a part of me – the part that still believes the existence of Santa Claus is a very real possibility indeed, that republicans and democrats can actually get along and that one day we might actually have some resolution with that excruciating cliffhanger from the final episode of My So-Called Life – that is tickled pink with Shatner’s announcement today. After all, as I grow older myself, I’d like to believe that there are yet more fun adventures awaiting me and my loved ones around that next bend. Captain Kirk genuinely rocketing off to space almost feels like confirmation of all of my above suspicions. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
Twilight Zone and Ray Bradbury Theater alum William Shatner takes off for outer-space on October 12 from a West Texas launch area.