Space Cadets


See, the truth is: people have always been spacey space-cadets.

I remember a time when I’d be talking to a friend, telling an amazing story and holding back as much as I could on the hyperbole, and he’d be staring off into outer space, but still nodding and maybe even making a mumbled, “uh-huh” noise to make me think he was actually listening, and I’d get to the really fabulous, juicy part of the story and he’d say, “Huh?” Then I’d have to start the whole story all over again.

Or there were times when my dad would be explaining the careful and correct use of some sort of power tool, and my own mind would wander. I’d be considering how to turn the lawn mower into a go-cart, or how to have races with the belt sander (if only one of my friends had one as well), or how to build a tree fort with the lumber he wanted put up as a fence. Then he’d finish and ask, “You got it?” And of course the appropriate response would be: “Yep!” Even though I hadn’t got any of it. And then of course he would say something to mess with my mind like: “Now don’t let that lawnmower chop off your toes. Remember what I told you about ‘Shoeless’ Mike.”

“Shoeless” Mike?! I missed that part. I was in outer space. Pride would never let me ask him to repeat what he’d said either. As they say, pride comes before you lose your toes under the lawnmower.

Nowadays, people are staring down at miniature screens, their thumbs are flying, brains washing, watching cyberspace, mesmerized by memes, and you’ll get to the epic part of your story and they’ll say, “Huh?”

They won’t even look up.

You’ll know that you don’t need to bother starting the story over again.

I usually just reply to the space cadet and say something completely irrelevant, like: “I should have built that go-cart.”

Published by Kurt Gailey

This is where I'm supposed to brag about how I've written seven novels, twelve screenplays, thousands of short stories, four self-help books, and one children's early-reader, but I'd rather stay humble. You can find out about things I've written or follow my barchive (web archive, aka 'blog) at or follow me on twitter @kurt_gailey. I love sports and music and books, so if you're an athlete or in a band or you're a writer, give me a follow and I'll most likely follow you back. I've even been known to promote other people's projects.

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