2001-11-29 / Arts & Entertainment

C’est La Vie by Don Flood

C’est La Vie by Don Flood

© 2001 King Features Synd., Inc,

Cutting Back

I don’t know how this happened, but that fabulous "Bridge to the 21st Century" we heard so much about has led to some major downsizings. Among them: the International Space Station.

For now, the space station will have room for just three people. Three people! That’s not even enough for a game of bridge! (Also, hasn’t NASA heard? Two’s company, three’s a crowd. Somebody up there is going to get his zero-gravity feelings hurt.)

Later, they plan to have room for seven people, which would give you enough for a little 3-on-3, except for the fact that the space station won’t even have a basketball court! (Designers apparently forgot about an indoor court, and NASA reportedly won’t consider sticking a lousy net on the outside. Cost overruns, they say.)

Which is too bad, because I was looking forward to doing a little triple-reverse, shake-’n’-dump, in-your-face, quadruple-arm-pump, somersaulting slam-dunk. I’ve tried this on Earth but there tends to be a problem with gravity.

By the way, somebody really needs to see about turning down the gravity on this planet just a little. It’s gotten a lot worse since I was a kid. Not only would we find an extra spring in our step, we’d all immediately weigh less, thereby solving our growing obesity problem.

Downsizing has hit Earth too. Take the story of Craig McCaw. (Warning: The following story may be too heart-wrenching for sensitive readers.)

McCaw, a telecom magnate, has seen his net worth drop 65 percent in just one year. He may now be worth no more than $2.7 billion. Naturally, facing this kind of setback, you cut costs: turn off a few lights, bring a lunch bag to work, etc.

But with McCaw, it got worse. Much worse. He was forced to sell his 300-foot yacht. A fairly modest boat, it came equipped with a 40-foot speedboat, swimming pool (just one, apparently) and two helicopters.

While the article didn’t say anything about Mr. McCaw getting a new boat, it’s possible he may have to make do with a "one-chopper."

Which is pretty tough if you’re trying to entertain. Let’s say you’re having a party on the water when suddenly disaster strikes — one that even the captain of the Titanic didn’t have to face — you’re low on ice!

Naturally, you send a helicopter to 7-Eleven to grab a couple of bags. Sounds like you’ve got the situation under control, but imagine this scenario, like something straight out of The Perfect Storm: you’re low on dip too!

There’s no calling your only chopper back! It’s gone and now you’ve got to keep people from panicking as the last of the dip runs out! May Day! May Day!

That’s why I wouldn’t be caught dead buying a boat with just one helicopter. Too many things can go wrong.

If you would like to help Mr. McCaw maintain his lifestyle, please send your donations to me at the Craig McCaw Two-Chopper Boat Fund, in care of this newspaper. Who knows? The party you save may be the one you’re invited to.

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