Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spacing out

Years ago, my newspaper cohorts and I discovered the Christa McAuliffe Space Center at Pleasant Grove's Central Elementary school.
You could go there as a business or family team and fly into outer Star Trek space and fight aliens.
It was exhilarating and rewarding and revealing.
You quickly found out who you could trust and who couldn't handle pressure.
A teacher there, Victor Williamson, had put together this amazing flight simulation experience that included music, lights and little alien guys who sprayed you with water to kill you.
Everyone on the team had a role to play from captain to security guard and if you didn't do your part, the mission failed.
It all came back to me Friday when I went out to do a story on the new iWorlds adventure at Thanksgiving Point.
I was the damage control officer and I said to myself, "This time I'm ready. I'm older than all of these 11-year-old boys and more experienced than the other two 50-year-olds who came to play."
I'd been on a half dozen missions where we outwitted Klingons and Romulans and escaped from black holes.
We'd even survived the disastrous mission where we were all supposed to be playing dead as the aliens scanned the ship and the phone rang. One of our brainless colleagues reached over and picked it up and said hello.
That somehow gave us away as not being dead.
It was always fun to go and even though subconsciously you knew it was pretend, you got caught up in the action and stressed over making a mistake that would hurt the chances for team survival.
Yesterday, I was trying to be proactive. When we were headed into battle or met a hostile bunch, I knew we'd almost certainly suffer damage.
I lined up my Post-a-Notes so I could relay instructions to the communications officer. I fixed the oxygen generators, the forward shields and cooled the torque engines.
But I neglected to take into account two things.
I'm a reporter who has scribbled notes for a living for 35 years. The boy trying to read my writing in the low lighting had a tough time.
And the computers are no faster at iWorlds than they were at the elementary school.
Even though I pushed and punched my computer screen numerous times, we were dead long before my command to fix the CO2 scrubbers went through.
Sorry mates.

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