April 6, 2017

The weather was very threatening today as John Domico, Tom Cali, Lance Bland, Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Meira Minard, Mike Weyandt, Andy Maguire, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Dan Coughlin, Mike Zimmerman, Seth Senior, Jo Ohm, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur. headed for the track. Sam Thompson was already there doing his own workout.

Today would be another “themed workout”. Bwana noticed this morning as he pulled into his workplace parking lot that the flag was at half-mast. Who died? Upon getting to his desk, Bwana Googled and found out that the flags were to be at half-mast to honor John Glenn, who died back in December, but who was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery today. Glenn, of course, was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth in a spacecraft back in 1962. Glenn will always be something of an American hero, but it’s hard these days to appreciate just how big a hero he was back in ’62. So Bwana’s workout was 7 X 400. The question Bwana posed was, “What’s the significance of the 7?” A lot of historical ignorance was on display by the 30 to 50 year-olds. The only guy in the Crew who’s old enough to have been around at the time of Glenn’s flight (besides Bwana) was having a hard time containing his hysterical laughter from a joke that had been told 5 minutes earlier on the run down to the track, so he (Cali) was of no use whatever. The answer is below. Glenn’s orbital first will probably be remembered for some time to come, but other things every schoolboy knew about him in the 60s will slowly evaporate from the corporate memory. The same is true even with figures of popular culture. Don Rickles, one of the most popular comedians of the 60s and 70s, died today at the age of 90. Bwana mentioned this to a co-worker in her early 40s and she didn’t know who Don Rickles was, even though the guy was active (and hysterically funny!) until the end, and was the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies she probably saw with her daughter. Sic transit gloria mundi…

So what was the significance of 7? There were 7 astronauts in the original Mercury team that started our space program. Of those 7, 6 piloted capsules into space. Each of them named his spacecraft something with a “7” in it. Glenn’s was Friendship 7.