Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky
There must be ten thousand “Urban Legends” floating around out there. They range from the one about the woman who thought she had purchased a Chihuahua puppy in Mexico that turned out to be a rat, all the way to the one below. I’m sure that 99% of them are false – but they make such good stories.
The story below is one of those Urban Legends. I saw it posted on Facebook (which may be an Urban Legend itself) and although I laughed out loud, I didn’t buy it for a second. But, darn, it is such a good story!
On July 20, 1969, as Commander of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon.
His historic words after stepping on the surface of the moon, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” were televised to earth and heard by millions. But, just before he re-entered the Lunar Lander, Armstrong made the enigmatic remark “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.”
Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no one named Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs.
Over the years, many people questioned Armstrong as to what the ‘Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky’ statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.
On July 5, 1995, in Tampa, Florida, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year-old question about Mr. Gorsky to Armstrong.
This time he finally responded because his Mr. Gorsky had recently died and Armstrong felt he could now answer the question.
Here is the answer to, “Who was Mr. Gorsky?”
In 1938, when he was a kid in a small mid-western town, Armstrong was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit the ball, which landed in the neighbor’s yard right outside an open window. The neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky.
As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky, “Sex? You want sex? You’ll get sex when the kid next door flies to the moon!”
Neil Armstrong’s family confirmed that this is a true story.
Right. The only flaw in this story is that it isn’t true. I wish that it was.
Tracing back, trying to find the origin of the story, it goes no farther than the mid-1990s. The story seems to have started life as a joke told by the great comedian Buddy Hackett. After that it was off and running.
The story has resurfaced periodically, even inside the world of Space Exploration.
When the space shuttle Columbia crew completed a repair mission on the Hubble Space Telescope in March 2002, chief repairman John Grunsfeld called out (in homage to this Urban Legend) “Good luck, Mr. Hubble,” as the telescope drifted off.
I suppose we could debunk this and other Urban Legends three times a day and twice on Sundays, but they would continue to live on – and that’s okay. They are harmless bits of fluff. They make us laugh and I’m a big fan of anything that can do that.
So, Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky.