Blast off with Space-age diapers |

Blast off with Space-age diapers

So, you’ve heard this news, right? About the astronaut who drove from Houston to Orlando to confront her fellow astronaut over some perceived intergalactic love triangle? She filled her car with miscellaneous murder gear, donned her special astronaut diaper so she could drive straight through without bathroom breaks and proceeded to launch into orbit around Planet Psycho.Many thoughts go through one’s head when hearing such tragic news. First of all, my heart goes out to anyone who is under so much career pressure that she’d snap in such a way. I also have to be careful not to judge too harshly, as I’ve certainly driven way too far for the sake of imaginary relationships. But my main thought is: “Dude! Where can I get ME some of those astronaut diapers?”My research has informed me they are called Maximum Absorbent Garments (MAGs) and are used to collect urine and feces during spacewalks, takeoffs and re-entry. I can’t say for sure whether “cross-country killing sprees” is mentioned on the MAG instructional DVD, but I guess it was easy to retrofit them for such use.When I think of all the time I’ve spent – wasted, actually – going to the bathroom, thinking about going to the bathroom, and trying to not “go to the bathroom” until I am in an actual bathroom, well … it’s a crime, really. This is nothing I’m proud of, so don’t think I’m saying this in a bragging way, but as a result of my excessive coffee intake, I have the bladder capacity of a pregnant woman on Gatorade. If my kidneys were ever able to, as a crazy example, leave my body and grow arms, they’d take turns holding me down while the other punched me where my kidneys once were. I don’t really see this scenario playing out anytime soon, which is why I feel confident that seeking out a pair of astronaut diapers is a better option than cutting back on coffee.Think of it. I could sit in Starbucks all day long, standing up only to get refills and more biscotti. I could comfortably handle plane trips, meetings, movies, casual chats on the street, short bike rides to town, all without having to constantly excuse myself to find a toilet, bush or alley. I would never again have to go through the rigmarole of covering the telephone transmitter with my thumb so I could conduct a business call while doing my “business.” I could just sit right here at my desk, feet up, makin’ things happen. Moving and shaking, if you will … I’ve read criticism of the space program in the past, and I’ve always dismissed it as the rantings of the shortsighted and narrow-minded. True, we’ve yet to build a colony on the moon, but whatever. True, the space shuttle gets terrible gas mileage, but that’s pretty relative. True, NASA stuff sometimes blows up when it’s supposed to be flying smoothly through the air, but there’s no need to nitpick. However, the fact NASA hasn’t made these MAGs available to the general public is unforgivable. Sure, there are Depends and other over-the-counter diapers available, but those will only take you so far – certainly not all the way to Orlando. I want prescription diapers, ones that have been tested at multiple Gs, ones that have held it all together during tense space moments, ones that have, dare I say it … the right stuff.At this point in our evolution, the human waste system is the final frontier. I can e-mail. I can video chat. I can take a picture with my cell phone and send it across the planet in an instant. I can access information on anything, everything, instantly via my own tiny home computer. I’m living an astoundingly futuristic life, yet I still have to take off my pants to void my bowels. Pathetic.Come on, NASA – give up the goods to the people. The space race didn’t end when you put a man on the moon. We’re still doing plenty of racing around down here on Earth. In fact … if you’ll excuse me for just a minute …Next time: The tragic tale of why I don’t play badminton. Barry Smith’s column appears on Mondays. Read more on Barry’s blog,

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