Independent Tribune (États-Unis)

A $145 million proposal?

For that kind of jack, let’s hope it works out.

According to a press release from a company called the ApoteoSurprise agency, a French marriage proposal planner specializing in creating extravagant (and extravagantly expensive) proposals, beginning in 2022, anyone with $145 million to spare, months to train and no fear of dying in a fiery rocket explosion can blast off into space to “stage the craziest and most outstanding marriage proposal of the last 13.8 billion years.”

That’s a lot years, but, since it came in a press release with an internet link, it has to be true.

Here is what someone gets for $145 million and, as usual, I am not making this up except for my parenthetical asides:

- Twelve weeks of technical and physical training.

(“Both of you were able to do 10 jumping jacks, so that’s a plus. Let’s move on to some technical training. When Mission Control tells you to push the green button, push the green button. Do not push the red button which will cause the spacecraft to explode. Once again, green button good, red button bad.”)

- Takeoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

(That’s much better than Orville’s Discount Rocket Launch Emporium in West Palm Beach, Florida where their motto is “Close your eyes and hope for the best.”)

- Richard Strauss's “Thus spoke Zarathustra, Op.30” – better known as the theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey” -- resounding in the two space tourists' helmets when the first effects of weightlessness are felt.

(After that it’s the Steve Miller Band Pandora channel.)

- Arrival in lunar orbit, three days later, flying over the moon’s grayish surface at only 200/300 kilometers altitude.

(For those mostly unfamiliar with the metric system, that’s about 10 feet or so. Also, I am mostly unfamiliar with the metric system.)

- Cut-off of all communication with Earth for around 20 minutes while the capsule flies over the dark side of the Moon.

(The press release mentions nothing about Pink Floyd so I assume they have not yet secured the rights to “Dark Side of the Moon” but launch is still a few years off. Also, during that 20 minutes, if the capsule is a-rocking, nobody comes a-knocking.)

- The Frank Sinatra song “Fly Me to the Moon” played halfway through the orbital flight, allowing the suitor to make his marriage proposal far from any form of human life with the engagement ring secretly hidden in his spacesuit.

(I’m not sure why the ring has to be hidden in the spacesuit. After spending months training and $145 million for the whole deal, the woman has to know something is definitely up or she is seriously lacking in intuition.)

- A spectacular Earth-rise seen from behind the lunar craters and return trip of nearly four days before atmospheric re-entry and final touchdown.

(“Google Maps says we’ll need to take the next left for re-entry and final touchdown. No! No! No! Not here. This one. You missed it. It’s recalculating. Don’t look at me like that, it’s not my fault! You are still p***d off you fell asleep and missed the spectacular Earth-rise. I swear, this is the last trip into space I take with you. My mother said, ‘No, don’t do it. He’s a control freak who probably has an engagement ring hidden somewhere in his spacesuit and wants to pop the question in the absolutely stupidest way possible.’ But did I listen? Oh, no. I trained for four months. Four months of jumping jacks and here I am. I oughta have my head examined…Hey, what are you doing with that red button?”)

Scott Hollifield