Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gravity, diapers

There was a scene in The Reluctant Astronaut where Don Knotts, launched into orbit, apparently asks how to use the bathroom.

We see him ask into the microphone, "How do you---" and the picture cuts away to a shot of the rocket. Then we see a guy at mission control say, "Well, you just---" and they cut away to the rocket again. Then we see Don Knotts again looking a bit horrified. "You're kidding!"

I had some friends who pretended they knew how this was done in zero gravity and discussed the degrading process Don Knotts would have to go through. But now it turns out that astronauts simply wear diapers. This came out a few years ago when a woman in the space program grabbed a couple of astronaut diapers for a non-stop drive from Houston to Florida where she attempted to kidnap a woman Air Force officer who was dating a guy she had been stalking.

I just discovered that, if you Google "astronaut murder" the suggestion "astronaut murder diaper" will come up.

This issue of space diapers has come up again with a discussion of the new movie Gravity, something about astronauts. They were complaining that it was inaccurate because Sandra Bullock wasn't wearing a diaper. Reportedly, she was wearing something called "boy shorts" under her space suit. I had never heard of them and I felt uneasy Googling "boy shorts", but all that came up were pictures of women posing in underpants that I guess were supposed to look like something a kid might wear.

What bothers me more than the astronauts is the fighter pilots. Watching war movies, I always did wonder what they would do if they had to go to the bathroom.

When racist senator John McCain was shot down in the Vietnam War, one of the people he still calls "gooks" came out of an air raid shelter and risked his life swimming out into the lake to rescue McCain who was tangled in his parachute. This heroic act by a Vietnamese civilian paid off for his people.

The Vietnamese knew who McCain was. They knew that his father was an admiral and that his grandfather had a ship named after him. So they knew just how to manipulate him. They knew he was used to getting special treatment. They sent him to a civilian hospital and had him treated by Soviet doctors. Vietnamese officers were brought in and pretended to be thrilled to get to meet John McCain. And it worked great. He started chattering away. He spilled his guts and told them everything he knew. The Vietnamese adjusted their air defenses and US bombing suddenly became far less effective.

So for years McCain has been trying to conceal his treason by falsely claiming to have been tortured. American prisoners who were present at the time have said he's lying.

Now I can't think about this without picturing the Vietnamese man pulling McCain to shore and discovering he was wearing a giant diaper which probably absorbed a lot of water while he in the lake. 

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