By Corinne Wnek
That Christmas follows Thanksgiving so closely on the calendar is confusing for me. I just can’t shift my emotional gears that quickly. One day its thanksgiving and then the next day its banksgiving, as in get me to the ATM. As far as I’m concerned, if a shopper can make it to a store for a 3:00 A.M. ‘welcome to Black Friday’ opening, then they deserve to get every super duper, door buster, rolled back, marked down, blue light special, guaranteed lowest, blowout price on every item they can get their hands on.
But am I the only one who thinks that at the stroke of midnight on Thanksgiving, evil Christmas elves descended to Earth faster than the Hollywood Tower of Terror ever could? It’s like our brains were hacked into by these red and green meanies and before you could say “I’ll have more pie”, they chased the spirit of thankfulness smack into next year. It’s like they came to brainwash us into a buying frenzy just because it’s December.
So as I was trying to come to terms with the ‘official’ start of the Christmas season immediately following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, I also realized we really hadn’t celebrated Thanksgiving yet. It would still be a few hours before the turkey and the trimmings were going to be served. It was then that a story on a cable news program caught my attention because it was about the ‘ultimate Christmas present’. I’m was getting more and more confused as I looked at the cornucopia on my dining room table but began to think Christmas list. This was the holiday twilight zone.
This gift was the mother of all gifts. I mean this goes way beyond private seating at your favorite sports arena and definitely surpasses anything Coach, Louie Vuitton or BMW could offer. This gift was also utterly unaffordable, unless your last name was Trump, as in The Donald.
But if you are a thrill seeker and money is no object, you might want to book a reservation on SpaceShipTwo. For a mere $200,000 per ticket per person, you could be among the first ‘space tourists’ to experience a suborbital flight that is approximately two and a half hours long. This is quite a bargain when you consider the magnificent views of the Earth you will get to see that, until now, were privy only to astronauts. The ticket price also entitles you to a few minutes of weightlessness inside a sixty foot long rocket-like aircraft.
All this is the brainchild of Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic and sundry related Virgin companies. He is a gazillionaire entrepreneur whose bank account would surely make Donald Trump and Bill Gates look like they’re struggling to make ends meet.
Not included in this gift is the cost for getting yourself to the southern New Mexico desert where Spaceport America, is progressing nicely and where a new two-mile long runway has already been built and dedicated. Why am I not surprised that close to four hundred people have already plunked down their deposits for flights expected to begin in about eighteen months.
This space venture sounds exciting but is likely to make Earthbound dream vacations seem like an affordable, routine request on the American Christmas wish list. I can hear it already: “And what would you like Santa to bring you, Tiffany?” “I want to go to France, England, Switzerland and Japan, but if finances are a little tight and Dad still doesn’t have a new job, we can leave off Switzerland”.
I’m starting to have a whole new respect for ties, socks and pajamas.
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