The New York Times just had an article featuring the new U.S. Space Corps uniforms, and boy do they bring back memories. They look a lot like old Navy cadet uniforms, which also inspired “Star Trek” uniforms. They have those spiffy diagonal buttons sweeping down toward the left from the right shoulder, with six silver buttons. They have a cool logo that has a sleek, narrow delta design that reminds me of 1950s movie space ships.
They look like “Battlestar Galactica” uniforms. I had to learn this from reading The New York Times story, because I have never once tuned into an episode of “Battlestar Galactica.” Just the name alone was all it took to ward me off. My nerdiness has its limits. Only, the U.S. Space Force uniforms are dark blue and grey and have one extra button. The sixth button represents the fact that the Space Force is the sixth and newest U.S. military force. I guess the others are the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Airforce and the Coast Guard. But, aren’t the Marines part of the Navy? I’m confused, as always.
I still don’t get what the Space Force is supposed to do. So far nobody is talking about sending any of these space soldiers into space. There’s no talk about sending space cadets on training missions in the Mars-Jupiter asteroid belt to root out space smugglers and illegal asteroid squatters. They’re all going to have desk jobs on this planet. It’s like a navy that has no sailors and no ships of their own. But somehow they can do pencil pushing. As if.
At least my father, who was in Army intelligence and called himself an office-bound, pencil-pushing spy for the U.S. Army, for some time ran real spy operations with people who actually flew surveillance missions over foreign countries. It’s not that the spying didn’t happen. It was just that his role in it all was to manage the organizational aspect. Budget riding, personnel tracking, requisition of needed materials and equipment. Boring.
But he had real operations to manage. If there are never going to be Space Force soldiers in space, what materials and equipment are requisite for the space soldiers on earth? Rulers, white out, more pencils and pencil sharpeners? Silver space paper clips? Silver space coffee urns?
One of the lessons my father learned on his job in the Army was you had to spend your budget or the next time you’ll get less money to spend. So you can’t not acquire more supplies than you need. Suddenly you need a new officers’ club with a giant pool and a poolside bar serving martinis. You need a recreation center. You need an expanded motor pool. These days, they’ll have to be self-driving cars.
When you have spiffy uniforms, you have to have spiffy occasions to show them off. The mess hall will have to host lobster banquets often, with the linen and the table candles and fine china and silverware. The Space Force banquets should have silver napkin holders because silver is a spacier metal than gold, which explains their uniforms’ silver buttons.
Everyone in the Space Force should get a big swivel chair, like James Kirk had on the Enterprise bridge, with push-buttons on the arms that go “boop.”
Closer to home, I was interested in seeing that King County is planning a program to hire homeless people out of shelters to work “temporarily” doing park maintenance for $20-$25 per hour. They will get training and assistance in finding similar work in the private sector. It sounds like it’s modeled on various work-shelter programs that have long been in existence, but way better paying than those.
I hope they don’t take the temporariness too seriously. I hope they actually place people into outside jobs before graduating them out of the program.
On the other hand, I’m wondering how this will impact workers who are already positioned to work at King County parks and start seeing jobs go preferentially to homeless people, most of whom will presumably have to be trained for the jobs. We don’t really need another movement crying, “They’re taking our jobs! <murmur murmur murmur.>”
I foresee new jobs opening up in the King County Parks and Spin Department as the politics is forced to go meta. They should hire Frank Luntz as a consultant, sooner rather than later. Don’t wait too long or the other guys will get him first.
The U.S. Space Force needs him, too.
Dr. Wes is the Real Change Circulation Specialist, but, in addition to his skills with a spreadsheet, he writes this weekly column about whatever recent going-ons caught his attention. Dr. Wes has contributed to the paper since 1994. Curious about his process or have a response to one of his columns? Connect with him at email@example.com.
Read more of the Oct. 6-12, 2021 issue.