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November 4th, 2021

Life Happens…

Facebook helpfully provides a daily Things That You Posted On This Date Through The Years link…

This is about the premiere of Morgan Jon Fox’s documentary This Is What Love In Action Looks Like. It’s about the protests over teenagers being forced into ex-gay conversion therapy at a place in Memphis Tennessee. I contributed both photography for it and some money, so I got screen credits for Photography and as an Associate Producer.

I’m sixty-eight years old now, and on the cusp of retirement, and I see this and I’m thinking, wow…it’s been a life hasn’t it Bruce Garrett…

Cartoonist, photographer, software engineer, woodworker, roadie for a local blues band, architectural model maker, burger flipper, stock clerk in a psychiatric hospital, JWST ground systems test conductor, associate producer…

I can remember looking out across the Washington DC rail yards and seeing steam engines. I remember when most of the passenger airplanes I saw overhead were propeller driven. I saw the beginnings of the jet age, then the space age. I listened to short wave radio so I could get the news from abroad. I remember the weird sounds of the Soviet Union jammers trying to keep Radio Free Europe out. I remember the transition to color TV. I watched the first satellite TV broadcast from overseas. I watched live as Neil Armstrong put his foot on the moon. I remember the transition to wireless telephones, then to cell phones. I was among the first generation of 18 year olds to cast a vote in a presidential election. I registered for the draft when I turned 18, went for my pre-induction physical when I got the notice, stood in a line with a bunch of other 18 year olds in our underwear as we were poked and prodded by military doctors for suitability as Vietnam war canon fodder. I did my own maintenance on my first car, changing spark plugs, adjusting the distributor points, and checking the timing with a timing light. I remember the first gasoline drought and why it mattered if your license tag ended in an even or odd number. I built my first computer from parts I got at a HAM fest and taught myself how to program it. I walked in the first national Gay Rights march. I walked grieving and terrified among the Names Project quilt panels. I have stood in a protest line across from a camp that forced gay teenagers into ex-gay therapy, talked with the survivors young and old. I have spoken test instructions across the NASA deep space network, talked to astronauts that serviced the Hubble Space Telescope. I have a piece of it they brought back on my den wall.

It’s a small thing I suppose, but my handwritten signature has been into space three times, carried on an Institute banner during Hubble servicing missions. A little piece of me made it into space.

Yeah. It’s been a life.

Someone who joined a Zoom happy hour I hit every now and then said I should write a memoir, but it would be exhausting to do and probably very confusing for anyone to read. What is your point Mr. Garrett?? I dunno…shit happens I guess…

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