Neil Armstrong is having heart bypass surgery.
I've always had mixed feelings towards Mr. Armstrong.
On the one hand, he was first and this Counts. In every possible way, it Counts. He stood on the moon and he did it first. Yes, there were at least a dozen others who could have done it, but it was him. He did it calmly and successfully.
On the other hand, there's the dullness, and his refusal to have any sort of a public life, and that pisses me off. I don't know how else to describe it. He landed on the moon. But was that the totality of his mission, piloting the LEM?
He did that part of the job, and many will say that it's not right to expect anything more from him. But is that true?
The nation gave the man a huge opportunity and failed to measure up: no speaking tours, no speaking out (except lately, and lamely, too); no extended advocacy for the space effort; yes, I know that he gave some speeches. But he should have been all over the place. He should be visible.
He gave nothing back to primary or secondary education. No trips to schools to engender the magic in young kids. None of that. He taught at the University of Cincinnati for 8 years. He won't sign autographs and he makes no personal appearances.