by Eric Lucas
I was lolling in the bathtub reading a comic book (the Amazing Flash) when my mom came in waving a copy of the afternoon newspaper. “Russians Launch Satellite,’ blared the huge headline. I tore myself away from superhero suspense to listen. You should listen to your mom, right? It was October 4, 1957. I was 6 years old.
“You may not understand this, but your world just changed,” my mother told me. “Pretty soon people will travel into space. You could. There’s a whole universe out there.
“All you have to do,” she added, “is make sure those grades keep up.”
She used to work that into every conversation; in fact, until recently, she would occasionally resurrect her offer that, should I wish to go to law school, she’d pay for it. Never mind I have no interest in law school and I’ve enjoyed a 30-year career writing everything from hotheaded newspaper columns to, well, hotheaded internet columns.
Most of my childhood is vague to my recollection, but I remember that evening the whole world marveled at the news Sputnik I had circled the globe. A 6-year-old boy’s grasp of the world is pretty much rooted in baseball, bikes and Cheerios, so I can’t say I comprehended the fact the universe had just shifted. Did this make the amazing technology behind the Flash more likely? What about Superman? “Just remember this moment,” my mom admonished.