One small step for man, one giant leap for Slowhand

moon-landing-apollo-11-nasa-buzz-aldrin-41162.jpegI do not know where my son got the idea that Eric Clapton was the first man on the moon.

Oh yeah, probably me.

Jack was six at the time, so those were the days he believed everything I said. And to be fair to me, I did not say Slowhand was the first man on the moon; I said he was the third.

OK, I certainly know that was a fib, but I was simply following guidelines set down for me by my own father.

He always had a plausible answer for every question and seemed very knowledgeable about all kinds of subjects.

It was only when I got a bit older and a bit wiser myself, I realised that if he did not know the correct answer he tended to make it up.

Who knew the sins of the father would come around again?

By age six, Jack was quite fascinated by space.

When he wanted to know the name of the first man to walk on the moon, I was very proud to be able to tell him:

“Neil Armstrong. It was on July 21, 1969. I was in grade six and the whole school watched the moon landing on a flickering black and white TV.”

“And who was the second man on the moon?” Jack wanted to know.

“Buzz Aldrin,” I said.

“Buzz Lightyear!” said Jack excitedly.

“No Buzz Aldrin,” I repeated. “He was right behind Neil Armstrong. They landed on the moon together on the Eagle.”

“An eagle!” said Jack.

“No, not an eagle. The Eagle. It was their lunar landing craft,” I said.

“Well, who was the third person on the moon?” Jack asked.

“Um, er, um, well,” I stuttered, knowing full well that I did not have a clue.

Stupidly, I gave the first name that came into my head. “Oh, I remember now. That was a man named Eric Clapton.”

On another day, it might have been another of my favourite musicians Neil Young, Van Morrison or Bob Seger. I chose Clapton, not because I know he has been spaced-out once or twice, but because I was playing one of his CDs at the time.

At the time, I did not think it mattered.

Heck, if I cannot remember the name of the third man on the moon, what chance has a kindergarten child got?

I was wrong, though now there’s a twist.

Two weeks later, he was firmly convinced that he knew the name of the first man on the moon.

“Who was it?” I asked.

“Elic Crapton,” he said.

Oh dear. Jack’s school was in the middle of a Science Fortnight.

If they started talking about space exploration, I feared I was going to get into trouble with his teacher. And Slowhand would need to add a new chapter to his autobiography.

©August 15, 2002 John Martin. All Rights Reserved

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