R.E.M. — “Man on the Moon” (from Automatic for the People) —
Please forgive the tardiness of my reaction to this, as A and I have spent a whirlwind few days in Connecticut and in New York City, and I’ve scarcely had five consecutive minutes with which to blog, but I was saddened to hear of Neil Armstrong’s passing on Saturday. Several years back, I wrote a short story in which Mr. Armstrong himself was something of a recurring character, and in which his 1969 moon landing was a seminal event in the lives of two teenage boys staring up at the stars from the Alabama Gulf Coast. (A visual recreation of this story can be found here.)
I have a sneaking suspicion, after all that you managed to do and see while drawing breath on this plane, that heaven might just be a bit anticlimactic for you, Mr. Armstrong. You nonetheless taught us all with your rocket-fueled flights of fancy that fantasy can be reality, and that reality’s boundaries are only as firm as our imaginations set them to be. May you rest in permanent peace, Neil.