Morality is subjective

In honor of the anniversary of the Challenger explosion . . .

I remember the Challenger explosion like it was yesterday, not in 1986. I had just turned 9 years old. Instead of class, we were all gathered together in one big room and it was exciting! No work right now? We’re going to watch television? In the middle of the day?

My teachers moved quickly. When the shuttle exploded, the TV was off in a matter of seconds. None of us quite understood what had just occurred, but it became evident over the rest of the day as we listened to the whispers of the adults around us.

It happened early on a Tuesday morning, and my mother, who was the first assistant to the open heart surgeons at Ormond Beach Memorial, didn’t get home until late that night. By the time we spent any time together, it was dinner on Wednesday evening, a full 36 hours after the disaster. And plenty of time for my mother and her co-workers to come up with, hear, and share multiple jokes about the explosion. In her line of work, a morbid sense of humor is mandatory for psychological survival, but her need to share those jokes is pure genetics. My dad didn’t want to hear them, so I think that the Avitable you know and love was probably born on January 29th, 1986, when my mother decided to share those jokes with an extremely smart, socially awkward 9-year old boy, who, in turn found them absolutely hilarious.

So, in honor of the anniversary of the Challenger disaster, here are some of my favorite jokes at the time:

Q: What color were Christa McAuliffe’s eyes?
A: Blue. One blew that way and one blew the other.

Q: What were Christa McAuliffe’s last words to her husband?
A: “You feed the dogs, I’ll feed the fish.”

Q: What were Christa McAuliffe’s last words?
A: “What does this button do?”

Q: What was the last thing to go through crewmember Michael J. Smith’s mind?
A: The control panel

Q: What does NASA stand for?
A: Need Another Seven Astronauts

Q: How many astronauts can fit into a Volkswagen Bug?
A: 11. Two in the front seat, two in the back seat, seven in the ashtray.

Q: How do they know what shampoo Christa McAuliffe used?
A: They found her Head & Shoulders on the beach.

And now you know the Origin of Avitable.

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23 Replies to “In honor of the anniversary of the Challenger explosion . . .”

  1. trishk

    25 years ago I was standing in the showroom of Dew Cadillac, my employer. The Service Department and the Sales Department and the people waiting for their cars to be serviced were all gathered around the television. We were all watching the launch. There was a TEACHER on board…students from around the country were watching this launch…she was going to do science projects from space!!!… When the count down was down to 10…we all moved outside because we had a perfect view of a launch..even in St. waited a bit…but you could see it…….we saw …smoke..lots of smoke contrails….Those explosion contrails hung in the air over Florida for hours….they were there every time you looked up that day.

  2. Shane

    It’s funny, when I heard about the anniversary, the thing that stood out the most in my mind was the ensuing inappropriate jokes. I’d only heard one, five, and seven before, though.

    Two, four, and six are strong.

  3. Grant

    I remember that day. I was in high school. When I got home I switched on the TV and heard about the explosion and how kids all over the nation saw it happen live on TV. My initial reaction was “What? Some kids get to watch TV at school? What kind of coddled spoiled rich-bitch hippie commie socialist new-age pansy fuckface panty-waisted lowlifes are these!?” So thanks for clearing up that question.

  4. Loukia

    OMG. Thanks go the laugh this morning as I sit here getting my hair done!
    I was young. Same age as you. Watched from our kitchen TV. The TV was orange. (Ew!) My mom was freaking and and talking about how everyone died, causing my 3 year old sister to cry!

  5. Tracy Lynn

    It took a long time for anybody in my life to crack jokes about it. I went to school with Christa McAulliffe’s nieces. She taught not far from where we lived, and since it was a small school, we all knew one another. Plus I was in high school, so I knew immediately that what had happened was bad.

  6. Redneck Mommy

    I am all over having a morbid sense of humour to cope with life’s hardships.

    But I guess I don’t find making jokes about the death of someone’s loved one, husband, wife, daughter, son, etc, amusing.

    Also, my business cards read: Tanis Miller, Stick in the Mud.

  7. Capricorn Cringe

    I’m not telling you how old I was on that day – I wasn’t in high school but I’m not so old that it would be weird if I married you. Well, it would be weird, because I don’t do the penis. Never mind.

    I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell for laughing – especially at #2 and #3.

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