Oh sure…“Bag the big client,” they said, “Jenny… think of all the good you can do!” and “Run with the big dogs,” they told me, but no one tells you what goes up must come down!
Whatever I imagined, this has been a colossal flop! Here I was planning how to best spend millions of dollars of goodwill only to find we are guilty of the biggest carbon footprint in the history of ever. I mean, this falls somewhere between the atom bomb and the Hindenburg! And all in pursuit of hedonism.
I for one don’t have a problem with hedonism but my client has put himself out there as some sort of social and eco-justice warrior—the arbiter of all that is good and moral, and well… right about now, the hypocrisy is suffocating. And the press didn’t miss a beat.
First there was “meet the dong rocket” and a lot of dick jokes, which then expanded into “he’s obviously compensating for something.” And yes, in the publicity leading up to the launch we stressed that the rocket’s design, while not original, was safe and less expensive than some sleeker designs.
But late into the evening my phone just would not stop, ding—ding—ding until I just had to shut it off. When I finally turned it on again there were four messages from the space cowboy himself. “Do you see what they are writing about me?” he snarled. But my phone was still blowing up which made a response impossible.
By the time my breakfast arrived 186,000 people had called for him to stay in space and another petition put it a bit more strongly saying “Do not allow him to return to earth.” Can you even imagine? Embarking on a journey and while you’re away the world asks that you not return? This was bad. And I didn’t know how to fix it. Not since I’d been sacked by the self-help author’s husband had I been this short of breath. There was no time for yoga, and no one to pinch a Xanax from either.
I didn’t want to call Daddy because I could hear him snickering from across the Atlantic. "Ego more like it," he said when finally I did call.
"So it’s not as bad as the Hindenburg?"
"Not at all," he assured me. That was accidental. This is more in the vein of… oh I don’t know… the Kuwaiti oil fires. Because Saddam knew the war was over and he squandered the resources just because he could: "Ego."
'Really, Daddy, Can it really be as bad as all that?"
"No, of course not, baby girl. There’s no risk of tarcrete hardening and killing all the livestock. You just have a pious client who lords his virtue over others, while treating the planet like he’s China."
Daddy was right and I knew it. I stared at the lamp by my bedside while blood rushed to my temples. I was defeated. "Cheer up!" he advised. "It seems you're the only one of his employees he pays well." And with that, he rang off.
The morning opinions were an absolute indictment of the man, and he was guilty as charged. The collusion between big tech and big media, de-platforming Parler, censoring books, killing small business, destroying the environment, crony capitalism… and yet his revenues were up 44 percent.
The plain truth was lockdowns had gifted him a cool $108 billion in revenues. Some clever PR was not going to sugarcoat this. It was time to get my game face on and do my job.
In the car on the way over to the launch site, I googled to see if Richard Branson had borne such wrath but who was I kidding? There was no comparison, and Branson could charm the pants off of Marcus Aurelius. Still reading the Twitter feed on my phone, I applied some lip gloss with my finger and wiped the excess on the carpet between the seat and the car door. Darn, we’re already here. I got out—big smile, and greeted my client by saying, "Seems a good day for it." I didn’t know if it was or not but it seemed the thing to say.
I also don’t know what I was expecting from today, but there was a very casual air about the whole thing. Or maybe everyone was just playing at looking cool. I tweeted, I stood where I was told, I tweeted some more, and the moment was upon us. No astronauts' wives in coordinated shoes and bags, just those of us who had a job to do, or some other connection to the launch and then—whoosh! I didn’t breathe. No one did. I think we were half expecting a big explosion, but I’m glad to report that did not happen.
I followed as best as I could on my phone and wondered if there was something else I should be doing. All I could think about was the tremendous amount of energy being expelled and wondered what the carbon offset could possibly be. I needn’t have worried as a congressional representative had just tweeted about implementing a space tax to do just that—thus giving way to exposure of his not paying his fair share of taxes, or wages, or infrastructure. It was the same argument lobbed against every sitting oligarch since the beginning of time. But in this case, I couldn’t help but feel it was deserved.
We had talked about his press conference and landing speech—heck I’d written three versions for him, and a pre-taped segment in the event of his death. But he forgot all of that and his swagger rose to the surface. He was so proud of himself, and yes, he bloody well should have been… but admitting he’d managed this on the backs of those he underpaid and overworked, was not the note to play.
I received a ‘?’ text from Daddy, and Judith followed with: "Was that your idea? Not everyone can deliver jokes you know. I should know, I’m one of those people."
Loads of negative rants came pouring in on my phone and disingenuous claims that they would never want to go to space… that the money could be used for so many better pursuits, like hunger and world peace. Well, yes, but baloney I thought. It’s the moon—or nearly. Of course you would go. It was same class division that had been going on since the beginning of time.
Just then Daddy texted, "Í’m very proud of you."
"For crossing over to the dark side?" I texted back.
"No. For doing your job," he wrote. "It's all progress… the money he amassed, the energy I create, the engineers who spend both… it’s all progress. And only a fool would argue that doing absolutely nothing is the path forward."
He was right. And if the last two months had taught me anything, it was that man did not get to the top of the food chain to eat bugs.