So there’s a new series on Netflix about the 1986 Challenger disaster. Four episodes, produced by JJ Abrams (I guess the man needs to make a disaster a year, ha-ha!) It’s very glossy, brimming with sad piano and slow motion video of Reagan looking sad, but it still manages to pack some mild criticism towards Cold War hysterics and capitalist greed. Give it a watch if you have two hours to waste. Anyway, it made me think of how I lived the Challenger disaster myself. I mean, not “lived”, more like “existed at the same time it was happening.” I was a first-grader obsessed with space shuttles and UFOs (they go together like chocolate and peanut butter!) and I had turned my bedroom’s ceiling into a veritable planetarium that I would stare into when I couldn’t sleep. Of course, I lived in Spain and NASA was as real as SPECTRE to us, so we didn’t really have the same grade of interest you adorable gringos had. I didn’t know there was a teacher onboard, and we were not “involved” in the space race in a “we gotta show those cannibalistic soviets whose thingy is longer.” It was cool because it looked like Star Wars, and that’s it. I don’t even remember when it happened. I do remember when it showed up on Informe Semanal a couple of months later, a pretty good weekly TV show that was pretty much a documentary version of 60 Seconds, a show that each week would feature a short investigative report on a given topic. Next day at recess we were all talking about it. My friend David, who lied every time he opened his mouth, insisted that he had been there in Cape Canaveral because his dad worked for NATO (this part was actually true) and had flown the whole family there to see the launch (this wasn’t.) I was an innocent and gullible kid who didn’t understand the concept of lying for clout, but other kids were more savvy and called him out on it. Nevertheless, he endured: he pulled up his trousers and showed us a scar on his knee that sure, looked like your regular wound from playing A-Team, but was actually a burn wound caused by a falling fragment of fuselage. That settled it. He was so full of it. He also insisted that he had once been abducted by aliens. Memory is a funny thing: I remember him, a very tall kid, screaming at another kid who insisted the aliens made a “boop” noise when everyone knew it was more than “beep.” Sad thing is, he never grew out of it. By high school he was telling everyone about the hot babes he made out with, and everyone called him “the liar.” On senior year he was diagnosed with brain cancer and well, that was it. Anyway, where was I going with this?