Get Up And Go

Our earlier conversation about “second acts” for people who have finished one career but aren’t done doing things has an off-planet parallel. A group of private space jockeys is attempting to re-start a defunct satellite named ISEE-3, or ICE.

Yes, this once cutting-edge conglomeration of obsolete computer parts has been around long enough to have earned at least two names. This is one of the privileges of age that has been taken over by young people who make it a habit to call themselves whatever they please whenever they want for no reason at all.

Fine, I suppose. But earlier generations approached names with a sense of obligation – you owed it to mom and dad to wear out the one you were born with before taking on another. And this plucky little satellite did just that.

Entering space in 1978 as the International Sun-Earth Explorer #3, (ISEE-3), this machine fulfilled its obligations by spending years collecting data at the edge of the Earth’s magnetic field, examining the solar wind and looking very closely at solar flares and cosmic rays.

But you know how it is with highly technical jobs. After a while they can become a bit dreary.

So when a flashy, exciting comet came whizzing by, ISEE-3 was smitten. Soon, its geeky-sounding moniker was history and our space spinner was off to intercept an exotic-sounding Comet named Giacobini-Zinne. And with this impulsive diversion came the much more dangerous and cool-sounding name, ICE (International Cometary Explorer).

So it seems even our technology can have a mid-life crisis and give in to a sudden, inexplicable alteration of course. This is why we need to let the young be young while they’re young. Short of allowing the kind of name-change anarchy I complained about earlier, of course.

But once off the path of a dutiful drudge, ICE was ready to yield to temptation, sliding into a casual relationship with yet another sparkly comet, the famous and notoriously fickle Halley. I’m not clear on the details, but apparently ICE took up a position between Halley and the Sun, running a calculation that involved both but committed to neither.

So it’s no surprise that by the early ’90’s, ICE was burned out.

End of story? Apparently not. Tomorrow, June 21, a team of modern techies will use updated equipment to send signals to ICE in an old language it recognizes and respects, telling it to boost its rotation by an extra half-spin per minute.

This is important for some reason I don’t understand, but I totally get it that the communicators have to approach this space geezer with antiquated language to get it to respond properly. It’s an awkward twisting of reality designed to get a desired result, similar to what happens when young people speak to us without swearing.

If ICE (or ISEE-3) is smart, it will accept this new mission simply because the alternative is uninspiring – simply to float through space, waiting for the lights to go out.

Pete Seeger said it best in this clip from the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968.

How do you know your get up and go has got up and went?

44 thoughts on “Get Up And Go”

  1. What a great question! Right away I thought of the line from Lethal Weapon: “I’m getting too old for this shit!”

    Here’s my barometer. A couple of years ago I hit some black ice on an overpass and totaled my SUV. Personally, I didn’t think it was beyond repair, but State Farm did. And a side note–the State of Illinois, which is over a year behind in paying its bills, sent State Farm an invoice for the damage to the guard rail 20 hours after the crash. Anyway, I decided to replace the SUV with a mid-life crisis car. I got a Mazda Miata, and it is so much fun! My friends complain about having to crawl into it, and then *really* complain about having to crawl out. Yes, it’s low to the ground, but that is my barometer. When I can no longer get in and out of it, my get up and go will have officially got up and went and it will be time to retire.

    I’m also thinking about the communication to the satellite in an old language it understands. For some reason I thought of the TV movie The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair. There is a moment when UNCLE HQ, in an attempt to communicate with Napoleon Solo, tries an old, outdated frequency (“Open channel D”). No real point to that, just a memory that made me smile.

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      1. No Mr. Waverly (Leo G. Carroll had died several years earlier), but Illya, yes. They made him a fashion designer and Solo a computer salesman or something like that after retirement. It…wasn’t good, but it had a few fun moments, from what I remember. It was on pretty late one night, and I think I fell asleep before the ending.

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        1. It at least had a little humor about how they had gotten older and technology has changed. As years-later sequels go, it was ho-hum but not tragic.

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      1. http://www.walmart.com/ip/HandyBar/15751848

        you absolutely need this. i saw it 20 years ago from the same company that marketed the garden weasel and thought it was wonderful. it fits in the frame of the car and gives you a lever to push on to get out. then you stick it in the little pocket in the door for getting out next time. it is the fountain of youth for this particular challenge.
        i remember hearing the radio study on choosing the muffler for the miada. it was fascinating. the difference between a masserati and an mg kind of sound is quite remarkable. who ever thinks of these things is smiling as we get in and drive away unaware they chose our personna for us. i have always though the miata was the undiscoverd coolest car on the planet. unassuming but sporty and the feel is just perfect. someone told me it is chosen or not chosen because it associated with gay men. i think if i took all my fashon cues form gay men i would be a good bit better off and better appearing than i am on my own.

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  2. Good morning. I know that my get up and go isn’t what it once was. I don’t know why that should stop me from being active. There are still lots of things I want to get done or be part of in some way or another.

    At some point I really will have to give up on doing many of the things I would like to do. Right now, I see no point giving up on doing anything that I can still do. I will not be making any plans to climb Mt. Everest. However, that is not a problem because I never wanted to climb Mt. Everest.

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    1. I like your attitude, Jim. Keep on plugging as long as you can, and rather than bemoaning what you can no longer do, appreciate the things you can.

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    2. We can’t do all our yard and garden work in one weekend any more. I also like to go to bed much earlier. How did we do it when we had children at home?

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      1. In my experience, yard work is never ending toil. I no sooner get the front yard tolerable than the back yard is overgrown with creeping Charlie and creeping bell flower. After all the rain we’ve received in the last few days, it’s should be easy to yank a lot of them out of the ground today. Here goes.

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        1. try a roundup like product on the creeping charlie and let it absorb in and travel down the stringers. it takes a couple shots but pulling is a never ending deal with all the roots left behind.

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        2. No thanks on both the roundup (or other toxic weedkiller) and the woodchuck. Have just pulled enough creeping Charlie and creeping bellflower to fill, to the rim, my 60 gallon yard waste container. And I’m nowhere near done. But at least I can now see where some of my perennials are planted.

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      2. Renee, I’ve been asking myself a similar question a lot lately. With very active 10-month-old twins around the house, I keep wondering how on EARTH did I ever get anything done when my own kids were little.

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  3. i recently decided to crank it up a notch and get back on the excersice program. watching leave it to beaver while walking on the machine seemed like a good idea. it was a lot of work but thats what excersice is supposed to be right? after about a week i realized the machine i was on could be regulated and i could walk at different levels of difficulty and walk corses instead of just hard walking if i put some batteries in it.it likely came with an electric plug now long gone. i got the batteries in and couldnt tell a lot of difference but when i went to measure my heart beat it came up at 197. well… that must be broken i thought and finished up my workout and got on with my day. i did make an appointment with a doctor who i was hoping to get my go button functioning properly. he took one look at me , sent me to a different doctor who proclaimed me ready to expire and tweaked me hard enough to get my get up and go in working order. i am not happy about discovering this old coil is starting to list a bit but as long as im givenn the option i wll keep on keeing on.
    im gonna miss you clyde. im hoping your decision to got up and went is a decision that can be open to revisiting down the road and if it doesnt i will be grateful for the drawings and quips and wisdom you have shared here on the blog. i hate it when baboons get up and go.

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    1. It was fun to be away from the Trail and then come back to it, finding some new voices adding to the fun.

      As I was saying to PJ, I used to have the comforting notion that I could always “get back in shape” by making a modest effort. Then the day came when I understood that exercise might make me exhausted and in pain but might not necessarily promote greater fitness. A sad day, that.

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  4. My get up and go leaves occasionally. When it does it’s rather discouraging as I’d much rather be active than sitting around. I’ve learned that instead of giving up on something completely, it’s better to do it in smaller increments. Can’t ride my bike 20 miles? Fine, do however many I can. Can’t walk five miles? Do one or two. The important thing is to do what you can. At my age it’s amazing how quickly things atrophy. Maintenance is a whole lot easier than rebuilding lost strength. I learned that the hard way after my fall a couple of years ago.

    I greatly admire people who persevere. My friend Philip has all kinds of physical issues: tremors, neuropathy, impaired vision, and walks with great difficulty; the list goes on and on. Yet he’s one of the most cheerful and resilient people I know. He’s an excellent baker, a bee keeper, has four chickens and a large lovely garden that he putters around in. He surrounds himself with people in his tiny house, and has an active social life. He’s a real inspiration to me. If Philip can do it, so can I.

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  5. Well, I’ll let you know. I’ve apparently pulled a groin muscle, and it hurts to walk. Puts a crimp in the old Get Up and Go. Seeing the doc later today to see what course of action – I hope it’s not all inaction – is called for.

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        1. It is often cited as the best TV show in history. I find it fascinating, but then I remember the times (primarily the 1960s) it depicts. I thought I would hate Breaking Bad, based on advance reviews. I’ve now bing-watched all of it. Once you like a show it is addictive to just pull up a chair and move from episode to episode.

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        2. My big binge is Downton Abbey. I’ve seen each year of the show over the course of a weekend… first when Steve lent me Season 1 and then the others when they came from the library. After one of these weekends, it takes me days to get the theme music out of my head!

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  6. You might be stunned by how complicated it is to move from one city to another. Something that got up and went was my email. I can see that I have 111 messages waiting to be opened, but the email gods will not let me in. If I have failed to answer a note from you, that’s why.

    When you are new to an area, you have to set up new services. They naturally ask what your address and telephone numbers are. If I shut my eyes I can usually remember the address, but until a day ago I had no telephone. They are shocked and ask if I do not have a cell phone. As a matter of fact, I do, but my apartment sits in a cell phone dead zone, and only one in four calls gets to me.

    i do now have a landline phone (thank the lord for old technology). The number is 971 407 3668.

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  7. I have almost no get up and go left in me, probably due to more weight loss and malnutrition. My surgery four years ago wiped out all traces of appetite unfortunately. Two days ago, for the first time in years, I exerted myself by planting annuals in a couple of flower boxes. The next morning, I found all of them laying on the ground from the night’s downpour. So much for that effort!

    My nearly 50-year old daughter just won the “Miss Minnesota Natural Body Building” competition and now wants me to train with her to enter next year’s show in the “Over 70” level. I’d win for sure because there’s no one else over 70:) I’m actually considering this if only I could regain some stamina.

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    1. Good grief, if we can put a man on … (you choose), why can’t they figure out how to transfer unwanted weight from one person to someone who needs it?!

      I’m with PJ, go for it – sounds like they need someone in that category.

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      1. It means absolutely no drugs like steroids, etc. Mary even had to take a polygraph, blood, and pee test. There are several body-building leagues, some of them “natural”; others with what Mary calls “she men” who bulk up and look like freaks. She got down to 4% body fat which, as she explains it, allows all her muscle definition to show.

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  8. I know that my get-up-and-go has got up and went, when I wake up in the morning (or afternoon, depending on if I managed to fall asleep before 6 am or not) and can think of nothing I would rather do than just stay in bed, reading and snoozing.

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