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It's always been pretty clear that astronaut wasn't my dream job - mention a spacesuit to me, my first thought is, "What about itches?" - but it's now certain beyond a doubt that I should cross that one off my potential career list.

You have one little butterfingers move and it's worldwide news? Is this fair? Forget it, I couldn't take the pressure. How could you not let a hammer or something go when you're out there on a spacewalk repairing the thrust decombobilator or whatever? If the astronaut examination board were drinking mai tais one morning and let me go up in space, there'd be so many nails and screws and things flying around out there, astronomers would have to name a new asteroid belt.

Not that it seems that this astronaut really dropped the tool bag. It sounds like it might just have been a knot that came undone, which can happen to anyone too. But as ever, it also comes down to cleaning: astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper seems to have been partly tripped up by a greasy mess, and hey, what woman hasn't?

The way the whole crowd around my house lets dishes and glasses and other breakables go flying (accidentally) is enough to make the husband check out that rubbery playground flooring to see if it would work in kitchens.

Although there is one really appealing bit to the astronaut gig - I'm jealous of how quickly they can get a toilet fixed. Plus, they've got a whole team to do renovations? This is how many thousands? millions? OK, really it's hundreds, of miles out in space? But they've just done some additions, changed a few rooms around, and the team even cleaned up after themselves? And this summer they got someone to come right out to the space station, fix the toilet and they're all set? I bet it's really fixed, too, not like some of the "fixes" I've seen.

If the space station worked like my household, I'm telling you, there'd be a heck of a lot more space news bulletins. They could even build a TV series, maybe one of those docudramas that National Geographic likes so much.

First: "Space station crew says, 'Toilet seems to be working funny.'" Then, "Crew hopes toilet will repair itself." And, "Crew agrees, toilet definitely not working, someone should call someone."

Then the action part of our drama: "Crew searching for decent plumber." "No good plumber recommendations found, crew calls random plumber, schedules appointment for two weeks from now."

The climax: "Plumber comes, does something, charges a lot; crew agrees plumbing is a fine career for offspring."

And the re-runs. "Crew says, 'Toilet still seems to be working funny.'" And so on.

So maybe I should check out the astronaut career path. Since the astronauts are actually their own plumbers/contractors/carpenters/etc., NASA must train you in these home repair skills - while you're learning not to scratch.

Now, that would be very handy.

Copyright © 2007, SteelWill, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Spot On is a trademark of SteelWill, Inc.

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