Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Apollo 11

Apollo 11 launched a week after my second birthday, and landed on the moon four days later. My mother told me that it was the first thing I ever showed interest in on the TV; before this, I'd never shown much sign of noticing the TV, though children under the age of two often love staring at it (a friend's baby has been watching Jeopardy since she was under one year old, we hope to recruit her for our trivia team when she grows up). I'm pretty sure my mother said I watched the landing; don't know if I watched the launch, too.

Most likely, it's just a coincidence that, at the age of two years plus a week, I found the moon landing the first good thing on TV, given that I later became fascinated with space and have remained so all my life. But it's certainly tempting to imagine it's not just coincidence. While people don't generally remember anything from before the age of about four to five (though many people think they do, it often turns out to be memories of hearing about events later), we really don't know much about what kind of impressions these events are making on their minds. Maybe it was being fascinated by that broadcast that shaped my mind to be fascinated by the subject later, and all my life.

Of course, it could be that there was something about me already formed by then which drew me to certain topics, and so this wasn't what caused it, but just an early sign of it. But even if you feel it's possible to have a predilection for space or futurism at the age of two, it's harder to believe that any two-year-old, even a bright one like me, could have really understood what was going on in that TV broadcast enough for that kind of predilection to kick in. At least enough to make a complete change from "totally uninterested in TV" to "staring raptly at the screen through the entire broadcast" (as my mother characterized it -- though she might have been exaggerating).

In any case, I kind of like knowing this about myself. It probably means nothing, and so probably shouldn't be a point of pride, even a minor one, but it certainly can't hurt.

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