Rhys Darby
Comedian Rhys Darby on life in New Zealand

Rhys Darby: 2013 - Endeavouring to enjoy a space oddity

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Rocket man Rhys jumps the queue for his space shuttle mission.

The Endeavour over NZ: Quite a sight for an astronaut dreamer.
The Endeavour over NZ: Quite a sight for an astronaut dreamer.

I took the family to the California Science Centre last week to see the space shuttle Endeavour. It has always been a dream of mine to travel in space. A big dream, I know, some would say a ridiculous dream but hey, dreams are free right? Or in this case $8.25 including an Imax pass.

"Ah Mr Darby, we've been expecting you."

"I'm sorry?"

"Please, let me explain. We knew that if we exhibited the shuttle here at the museum you'd turn up eventually."

"Yes, well I'm a fan of all things space."

"We know, and that's why we want you to pilot the Endeavour on one final mission."


"Yes Mr Darby. You."

I think for a minute. But as I do so the man stares at me, as if he can tell I'm thinking for a minute.

"Please, don't think for a minute," he says "It's most unlike you."

He's right of course. I hardly ever think. I find it takes up valuable time when I could be doing something. "I'm a do'er not a thinker" ... I think to myself.

"You're a do'er not a thinker," he says. "Come on, the shuttle is ready for take off."

This man, wearing a top brass Nasa hat, held my hand (which I thought was a bit weird) and led me away from my family who were preoccupied with the space paraphernalia in display cabinets. We walked past a big queue of people lined up outside the exhibition entrance. They all stared at me. I could tell what some of them were thinking. "There goes Darby, look at him, going in before us. Typical. Man he get's all the breaks."

"These are the brakes," said my instructor.

"Them's the brakes?" I replied.

"Yes," he said. By now we were sitting in the cockpit. The Nasa man gave me a brief rundown on the controls. I couldn't believe how many buttons there were.

"Will I have to use all these buttons?" I asked.

"No," he said, "most of them are just for show. Look, here's the main control ..."

He handed me a three-buttoned joystick. The three buttons were labelled FIRE, TURBO and IM. It felt vaguely familiar.

"What's IM?"

"Reverse thrusters. Use that if you want to out-manoeuvre the Cylon ships."


"Oh didn't I tell you?"

In all the excitement it would seem he had forgotten to tell me my mission. Everything was moving too fast. The man grabbed my hand again and this time he tugged it several times.

"Look!" he said, in a high-pitched voice. "There it is!"

"Sure enough there it was," I thought to myself as I looked up and realised "there it was".

The mighty space shuttle Endeavour sat there in all its glory. We'd reached the end of the queue. My son let go of my hand and ran towards it. It was quite the sight to behold, especially for a dreamer.

- NZ Herald

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