I'm sure by now all of you have probably read or heard about the NASA astronaut, Lisa Nowak, who, by the way, holds a master's degree in aeronautical engineering, went rather "out of orbit" yesterday brandishing a wig, pepper spray, a BB-gun, and various other incriminating implements (rubber tubing, a mallet, a 4-inch bladed knife, and large garbage bags) most people just don't carry around with them on most given days...and undoubtedly attempted to get inside the vehicle of Coleen Shipman, a woman whom Nowak believed to be her romantic rival getting in the way of her endeavours to woo fellow astronaut, William Oefelein. Whew! With me so far?
These are the things soap operas are made of...or they will be by next week. Anyway...the alleged story goes that Nowak had something "more than a working relationship but less than a romantic relationship" with Oefelein.
Here's my take on it all...and purely my take: In female terms, in a nutshell (no pun intended): Nowak wanted him to feel the same about her and return her affections and so far it just hadn't worked. So...what to do...what to do? With the breakdown of her 19-year marriage, which may or may not have been hurried along because of her unrequited feelings for Oefelein, who is unmarried, by the way...she probably felt she was at an impasse and HAD to do something or she would lose her man...whom she didn't have yet. But, by golly, evidenced by her reactions yesterday, she sure wanted him badly enough to not only scrap a job most people could only dream of...but also ruined any chance to remain a mother (she will, of course, remain their mother...but probably from a jail cell for a long while) to her twin 5-year-old girls and also her 14 or 15-year-old son. Now, I have two children...and I tell you...it would be a cold day in Hell before I put myself first...especially in this type of context...over my responsibility to be there for them as a mother. Ain't gonna happen.
But back to the story...Nowak is now released on bond, tethered to a monitoring device. Personally, I'd think she was pretty unstable and needed to go thru some mandatory court-ordered psychological work-up before sending her on her merry way. This woman is definitely NOT thinking correctly...I'm sure her lawyers and psychologists will come up with some fancy terminology to explain it all...let's see...hmmm...how about "Space Dementia"? "Yes, my client has been in space too long and the lack of oxygen has undoubtedly affected her brain. She never would have had these delusional thoughts otherwise." Can't you just see them force-feeding this line to a jury of her peers...which, seriously...how are they going to find a jury of her peers anyway? Shut down NASA for the duration of the trial? Anyway...this line of mental reasoning (mine by the way...purely mine...nothing verified) got me thinking: Doesn't NASA routinely kinda "screen" their workers, especially astronauts, for mental stability? Face it, they don't exactly want someone to go all wackadoo upon reentry or docking to some 200 billion dollar space doohickey. And NASA should have known about the commotion at her house leading up to the demise of her marriage, and I quote from the AP article written by Mike Schneider: "In November, a neighbor reported hearing the sounds of dishes being thrown inside Nowak's Houston-area home, and the police came. And weeks ago, Nowak and her husband separated after 19 years." Granted a neighbour just spouting off at the mouth to the press saying "Oh my yes...they were always yelling in there...I told my husband something was bound to happen...didn't I say that more than once, Harold? Harold? Harold, didn't I???" is quite different from the police being sent over and having it all nicely documented on some police blotter downtown. Shouldn't someone in some NASA capacity have said, "Ya know, let's maybe see if she is okay...maybe this whole divorce thing is really getting to her...let's get her in to see one of our psychologists...you know, just in case."
This is starting to make the movie, "Armageddon", seem a LITTLE bit more believable with each subsequent article I read...and that is sad.
I, as well, feel sad...very sad...not only for the woman, Shipman, whom Nowak is now charged with attempting to murder (in the first degree if I'm not mistaken...she did have those "things" in the car, after all...she went there all prepared)...because, no one should be stalked and then subsequently "done away with" because someone else thinks so...and thank goodness it didn't go that far...but also for Nowak's children. Losing a mother when the "inevitable time" comes is hard enough to take..."losing" one because of circumstances such as these, which were unquestionably preventable somehow (I don't claim to have all the answers here...I'm just saying someone should have gotten help for her, herself included) must be sheer torture. One minute your mom's on some space shuttle mission setting a role-model for all the little would-be female aeronautical engineers and astronauts out there, the next she's in jail for trying to off some woman...all for the love of some man...who, as far as we know, never professed any love for her. And, I feel sad for Nowak...a brilliant, challenging, and probably greatly rewarding career...gone. What I wouldn't give to have the brains to hold a NASA job...any of them (well, not janitor) - and she did. But with all that intelligence she didn't have sense enough to realize that no man was worth all this...and one thing shines clearer than any view from any window out in space: She definitely won't get him now.
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".