Just a couple of years before I was born, Neil Armstrong took a step on the surface of the moon. Back on earth people were amazed and in awe of such a fabulous achievement. They were certain that it would just be a matter of years before space travel would be something common. In truth, we’re living in the times they dreamed about back then, but I’m still waiting for my spaceship. That historic walk on the moon prompted a famous line that was misheard on earth to be, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” This, of course, doesn’t make any sense at all because “man” and “mankind” are essentially the same thing. Instead, Armstrong actually said, “that’s one small step for a man,” which adds all of the meaning to the phrase. The idea that one person could do something that has an effect on the world as a whole. This, of course, made me go through a phase when I was a little kid of wanting to be an astronaut. Not just to fly around in space, which would be cool, but to make some sort of impact on the world. Of course, I never became an astronaut and now have a fear of heights so that’s probably never likely to happen. But I still remember the dream.
One of my favorite cartoons to watch as a kid was The Jetsons. This was a fun show about a family living in a utopian future where houses were in the sky, along with the cars, and nearly anything was possible. I loved Rosie the Robot Maid most and thought she was really cool. That, and all of the various contraptions and machines on the show. It was filled with pure imagination and a view of the future that was really quite creative and amazing. And it was also the first series to be broadcast in color on ABC, which makes it rather revolutionary. Of course, many viewers were still only able to watch it in black and white as color televisions were still a rather expensive novelty. And this all happened in 1962, seven years before a man would take his first steps on the moon. The following decade, yours truly entered a world that was still quite fascinated with outer space. But, many of the stories had started to change a bit and the utopian societies turned into dystopian ones fighting for survival. But, thankfully I still have my Jetsons to enjoy and later would become a huge fan of Mork & Mindy. The latter was about an alien attempting to navigate earth and probably reveals even more about just how weird and wonderful life really is on this little green planet.
In truth, we’ve passed all of the galactic milestones that the 60’s and 70’s had envisioned for us. From the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, out just a year before the moon landing, to the 70’s oneupmanship of the show Space: 1999, many years have gone by. We apparently should have been in space by now, with robot helpers, but instead we’ve stayed terrestrial, gotten distracted with smart phones while trying to get audio virtual assistants to understand what the hell we’re actually trying to say. But even if the dreams of everyday space travel failed to happen in the time of those stories, it’s the stories themselves that made an impact. It was exciting to imagine what would happen next, and wonderful to think it would indeed be some kind of utopia. That’s where my insatiable optimism got its roots. I was born in a time when man (and woman, of course!), could do anything that could be imagined. After all, if we could put a man on the moon, then anything is possible, right? And each person has the ability to make a positive difference in the world. Sometimes, the smallest of actions can be the most amazing first step that will ultimately help the world once again experience one giant leap.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. (My “Shiny” Trio! Click Here To Purchase It!) + Quinacridone Red. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!