Giving Them the Slip
by P.F. Jones
December 23, 2006

Sometimes in life, a man just needs a vacation.
I am no different.
My critics say I'm on a constant vacation because I'm constantly traveling.
That's called research, my friends.
I'm scouring the Earth 24/7 for universal truths to relay to my loyal readers.
For a man such as myself to truly "get away," I have to keep things on the lowdown.
That's why it wasn't announced that I was the most recent civilian visitor to the International Space Station via the Discovery shuttle until I was up there.
Now you're probably saying, "P.F., isn't a 20 million dollar vacation a bit of an indulgence?"
Well, I spent a lot more than that.
I'm sure you all heard the shuttle crew was adding a module to the space station.
What you didn't know is that it was my personal suite.
Those astronauts were awfully good sports- they had to rewire the whole station to accommodate my suite.
I'll have to get them and their families something nice, like an island or something.
They put my module adjacent to my buddy Sir Richard Branson's.
It's a shame they won't let two tourists come up at once.
Not that they'd let us smoke a couple of Ambassadors on the station.
Or any of the other stuff Richard smokes.
I did miss Starbucks coffee while I was up there.
I can't believe I forgot to take some with me.
The peace and serenity I achieved while in space more than made up for my lack of caffeine.
Looking down on Earth from above is both humbling and invigorating.
I couldn't help feeling a bit like God.
As my eyes caressed her blue and green glow from space, a single thought crossed my mind:
"I'll take it."
By the time the Discovery returned, word of my little vacation had spread around the world.
Space shuttle returns are usually a media circus to begin with, but this one was frickin' amusement park!
For miles, all the eye could see was news vans tailgating with tri-pods and talking headshots in make-up standing under the hot afternoon sun, speculating as to what kind of answers I'll have to their myopic questions.
At least, that's what it looked like from the camera feeds I saw.
As thousands of press-release-reprinting monkeys learned when the hatch was cracked, I wasn't there.
You see, Branson blew the extra 2.5 billion for his module to come with a personal escape shuttle.
And he let me borrow it.
That boy's a class act.
Incidentally, to all those skydivers who think they've been to "the edge," 20,000 feet is nothing compared to a medium synchronous orbit.
I've never felt so alive in my life.
Now that I’ve got both feet on the ground, I vow to carry on, with a renewed sense of purpose, to do everything I can to make this world a better place for us all.
Good day.