Why Weren't People Shotgunning Beers In The Street When We Landed On The Moon?
Last Friday I departed from my usual Friday night routine (nap after work, take a shower, drink anywhere from four to seven vodka sodas at the bar, and pass out with my shoes on) and went to see First Man, the true story of Neil Armstrong starring the always wonderful Ryan Gosling and the absolutely stunning Claire Foy. And with a supporting role from none other than Kyle Chandler, I sat down in my theater chair with a fat bucket of popcorn and cherry coke ICEE thinking Best Picture or bust.
I had high hopes for this film going in and I think a lot of critics did too - it’s been on my radar since this summer when I saw teaser trailers because 1. I love anything with Ryan Gosling and 2. Any movie having to deal with space is an instant must-see for me.
Space is in my top 5 most intriguing topics, right up there with cults and serial killers, and I really can never get enough of it, whether it’s in the form of a blockbuster like Armageddon or a drama like Apollo 13 - if the characters are going to space count me all the way in. And while I didn’t think First Man was a bad movie, per say, I did walk out a bit disappointed.
If this movie truly was based on facts, Neil Armstrong was an extremely hard-nosed, stoic man. Nothing wrong with that, but probably not the best for a movie on the big screen. The action scenes were incredible and tense and they were all I could have asked for, but I don’t know. That movie just wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be. Still would highly recommend it but I don’t think it’s the movie of the year or anything.
In any case, First Man really got me thinking about events that changed the course of human history. And all I could keep thinking as this movie showed shots of people from around the world watching with baited breath as the astronauts landed on the moon was one thing - where are the party people at?
I hate to bring up such an awful event in our collective history but it’s necessary for this blog. In 2013 I was still in college and I had made the wise decision to not schedule Friday classes during the spring semester of my junior year. So usually what would happen on Fridays during that spring was this - me and my roommate would wake up around noon, grill something out on our front lawn with Busch Light and loud music, and then go from there.
But on a chilly day in the middle of April we were glued to our television watching as a manhunt ensued for the Boston Marathon bombers. We sat there with CNN on at a very loud volume. It was a crowd of just two that eventually swelled to twenty, all of us crammed into my tiny apartment as FBI, ATF, Boston police, and a bevy of other law enforcement agencies searched for the guys who had done this in a city that was shut down.
It was insane to watch live, and as we all know they eventually found both of them after an intense shootout. But I was drinking the entire day watching this unfold, and so were a lot of people my age.
Bars all over the country had this thing on and in Mission Hill, a student-heavy area of Boston, people were drunkenly chanting “U-S-A!” and waving flags late into the night. That night after we caught those fuckers was the most patriotic I have ever felt in my life.
It brought the country together and it felt good to chug beer while listening to Ray Charles’ rendition of “America The Beautiful” and Toby Keith’s “Brought To You Courtesy of The Red, White, And Blue.” It was a great day for the nation and I’ll never forget it.
So my question after that long winded rant is this - why didn’t I see any of these drunken cellys when we landed on the moon? Where were the college kids on quads and in shitty bars shotgunning beers and buying rail tequila shots for everyone? Were we just collectively lame as a country in 1969 or was it seen as obtuse or inappropriate to be drinking to excess during the moon landing? Because if I was alive in ‘69 I would have been going fucking berserk. Everyone just seemed a little too composed in the shots I've seen from people on Earth, watching Walter Cronkite in Times Square and in Tokyo, Great Britain, Germany, and India.
I understand that on July 20 when we landed it was a Sunday, but what better excuse could you have possibly had for a Sunday Funday than the United States beating the fucking Russians to the moon?
If ever there was a time to call out of work the next day because you were hungover, the moon landing would have been it. Perhaps the partying just wasn’t captured on film. Maybe it really was too big of a moment for the country to be getting wasted. I don’t know, I guess I just expected a little more drunken buffoonery out of the USA during such a colossal moment. Could you imagine Twitter if it existed in 1969 during this whole thing? God, that would have been awesome.