To boldly go where many have ralphed before

My fellow spacemen laughed at that and gobbled more croissants. It reminded me of a Simpsons episode in which they tell schoolkids about colonizing the moon and how they'll weigh less up there. One of the fat kids hears this and starts devouring pie. "Slow down, Tubby," the narrator says, "we're not on the moon yet."

It's not the weightlessness that makes you sick. It's afterward, when the plane is pitching down and you experience two times the earth's gravity, that you realize why they said it would be smart to eat light. It feels like you got really, really drunk the night before and then decided to ride that crazy spinning machine at the State Fair, the one that pins you against the wall. It feels like that--awful.

When astronauts train, they usually do 40 or more parabolas in one day. Even Tom Hanks and his cronies on Apollo 13 put up with it for a while to film their movie. Most people on our plane were fine; we did only 10 parabolas. Me? That was about two too many.

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Johnny BootBoy.
It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Johnny BootBoy.

After head-butting that poor bastard, I wasn't feeling so hot. Neither was the Dallas Observer's photographer, Mark Graham. He didn't really want to do this in the first place, but I guilt-tripped him into it. Poor Mark--whenever one of these kooky column ideas comes into my head (wing eating, yoga with dancers, basketball against the Mavs coaches) he's the one they tap to shoot the pics. Shortly before takeoff I asked him if he hated me for making him do this. He didn't miss a step: "I never liked you in the first place, so what's the difference?"

Neither Mark nor I lost it on the plane. But even after we returned to Love Field, I didn't feel quite right. There was a reception replete with food and drinks and little parting gifts. I didn't eat. Mark came over and asked if I'd do it again. I said that I had a great time, but I wasn't so sure that they'd get me up there for another go-around, because I wasn't feeling so great.

"Yeah, you don't look like you have much color," Mark said.

I am Johnny BootBoy.

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