Man first landed on the moon on July 20th, 1969 and it was the day the Earth stood still. But my favorite Apollo Mission was Apollo 13, because it starred Tom Hanks and was the best engineering movie ever made. It also gave rise to the quotation (or misquotation) “Huston, we have a problem.” This quote has been used many times especially where I work since we, as engineers, have to say this to Huston at times but more recently to Beijing, which doesn’t have the same romantic impact. According to Wikipedia, Apollo 13 was considered a “successful failure” and I am sure all engineers could identify with this concept.
But what we are experiencing in our country today is no laughing matter and I know Normal Citizens in Trinidad and Tobago make “Huston, we have a problem” distress calls in their minds and in the same way. Here is that typical Normal Citizen of Trinidad and Tobago distress call.
Normal Citizen: Hello, Port of Spain, we have a problem.
Mission Control: What is the problem, Citizen?
Normal Citizen: It’s PM PM, Sir, he seems to be malfunctioning again.
Mission Control: Tell me something new. What is it this time?
Normal Citizen: He is spewing venom all over the place.
Mission Control: I said, tell me something new. How bad is it this time?
Normal Citizen: Worst than ever, Sir. He is now talking about having compassion in a tone best suited to hate.
Mission Control: You don’t think he is compassionate?
Normal Citizen: No Sir, I don’t and I don’t think anybody thinks he is either.
Mission Control: Are they cheering him along?
Normal Citizen: Yes, Port of Spain, the people seem to also be spewing venom.
Mission Control: How did the people get there and are there any weed whackers in their vehicles?
Normal Citizen: They came by Maixs sir and a few came in Audis, BMWs and police bicycles. I can’t see any weed whackers but there are a few paint brushes. Can we contain the venom-leak, Sir? It now seems out of control and I am afraid.
Mission Control: Who is the venom aimed at?
Normal Citizen: Anyone who opposes him, anyone who thinks he is wasting the country’s money, anyone who thinks murder, robbery and rape are still crimes and the midget is one of his fangs. He is spewing venom on anyone who believes in democracy.
Mission Control: That is bad. Let me check the manual…Ok, there may be some good news.
Normal Citizen: What is it, Sir?
Mission Control: Well, he may blow a gasket and the only spares are available in Cuba.
Normal Citizen: Sir, I think we may have a bigger problem.
Mission Control: What now?
Normal Citizen: His followers are now spewing more venom than even he. They also don’t care about crime, wastage or democracy or the accumulation of water in the middle of freshly paved highways; they only care about following the venom of the leader. The followers are all over sir; it’s spreading like a deadly airborne virus.
Mission Control: Well, I always knew it would come to this.
Normal Citizen: Come to what, Sir?
Mission Control: We have to leave now and probably go to the moon. It is the only safe place.
Normal Citizen: But there is no water, electricity, smooth roads, functioning police service or independent senators without brains on the Moon.
Mission Control: Well, at least you won’t get home sick.