Space Flight – The Second Launch

At the Huntsville Alabama rocket command center sometime around 1961, three hard working engineers sat at the control console and discussed how they would launch the first Redstone rocket into space.  Milton, the not-so-hard working engineer was off playing Shut the Box.

Milton rolls….”Hey, I’m starting out fine cause I just got a..………….………9”

 

Engineer 1 speaks, “It’s imperative we launch this rocket properly.  We need a countdown where the launch sequence can be rolled out logically.  The first launch was a  dismal failure.  ”

Milton rolls….”Bada Boom,  it met its fate, hey I rolled an………………………8”

 

Engineer 2 says, “We simply shout  ‘ready, set, go!’ and I push the button to fire off the engines”

Milton rolls….”Four and three aren’t eleven, I did the math and got me a……7”

 

Engineer 3 says, “Ready, set, go???  This is Huntsville Alabama, home of the most sophisticated rocket systems known to man.  Ready, set, go, what are you a uneducated pimply English teenager?

Milton rolls….”Skittish British,  their accent you can’t fix.  Another great roll, I just got a……………………………………….….…………………………………….6”

 

Engineer 1 states, “My 5 year old kid usually says something like 1, 2, 3 go and wets his britches.”

Milton rolls….”I feel so alive well blimey a ..……………………………..5”

 

Engineer 3 complains, “Look gentlemen, we’re all professionals here.  We can’t use childish gibberish to launch a multi-million dollar rocket.  Milton, do you have any ideas?

Milton rolls….”What?”  Then quietly, “These guys are a bore my soul for a ..…4”

 

Engineer 3 takes a look at Milton’s game and says, “That’s extraordinary Milt, you have a perfect game of Shut the Box underway”

Milt rolls…. “Why is he watching me, ooh a ……………………………………………… 3”

 

Engineer 2 says…”What are the odds on rolling a perfect game, I wonder?”

Milton rolls….”Sweet goo a……………………………………………………….2”

 

Engineer1 chimes in…”This is unprecedented, according to my calculations a perfect game has odds of a  billion to one.

 

Milton pauses and rolls the dice.    “Blast it” a…………………………………………………………5

 

In a mad furry Milton with his fist, slams the launch button.  A perfect game perfectly ruined by a 5.   The rocket however, heads skyward.  Engines burning bright,  the sky opening up as the vehicle advances in all its glory- a nation uniting behind it.  The space program developed the first countdown that day and used it for many years to come.  For some reason they start the countdown at  ten now  and shout “blast-off” not “blast-it”.  It just doesn’t matter,  Milton’s place in history maybe forgotten but his almost perfect Shut the Box game will never be, as long as rockets soar majestically into space.

Will history ever be the same without Shut the Box.  I think not.  And so ends another not so well known lesson in American history.  There may be other happenings but I’ve already told you more than I know.

 

How Shut the Box Changed to World

The Titanic Effect

Captain John Smith was proud of his nautical career.  He had for years stood at the helm of countless frigates, freighters and ferries.  For all his experience, came the command of the HMS Titanic and on her maiden voyage.  He was proud man, proud of his remarkable career and proud of never having been caught in the grip of the demon, liquor.  He certainly had his share if vices.  He had a peculiar fondness for showing the bridge to the elite of his time.  There was also his unrelenting urge to play shut the box.  The world would soon find out the horror of his afflictions.

The North Atlantic is a cold place in the middle of April.  The seas churn violently.  On that fateful night the captain commandeered his regal ship from the bridge with a host of debutants including the unsinkable Molly Brown.  They had joined Captain Smith to play an uncharted version of the game. The evening started out innocently enough as the captain deftly guided his ship over the frigid seas as he coolly rolled the dice.  He rolled a seven, exactly what he needed to shut the box and win the $500 pot.   Molly smiled at the Captain, her six teeth glistened in the moonlight. Captain Smith was particularly fond Molly, maybe it was due to the extensive use of her company’s dental program.

The captain moved closer to Molly feeling a bit feisty and Molly planted a big smooch on Captain Smith’s plump cheek.  Suddenly, the ship lurched violently.  “ I don’t know about you Molly, but I felt the earth move?” said the captain.

The first mate entered the bridge and stated nervously  “Captain sir, we’ve just struck and iceberg.  We’re taking on water fast. What are your orders, sir?”

The stunned captain sat in disbelief, his eyes wide.  The shock of the moment would soon eat away at his sense of reason.  At no time in his “naughty”-cal career had he ever been in such a situation and it ate him to the core.  What would his wife and children remember about him.  How would the history books tell this story.  Why had that tempestuous Molly Brown planted that kiss on his cheek.  Wow, was she hot!!!

“I’m sorry first mate, did you say something?” The captain was awestruck by the sassy Molly Brown.  He was for all intents and purposes, sunk.

That night, the smitten captain went down with his ship as the cold Atlantic waters swallowed him up.  As the ship dropped below the water’s surface, it belched forth shut the box.  The game bobbed up and down like a plump apple in a bucket of water.  The letters SOS faintly engrained in the folds of the wood was one of many distress messages that went out that night.  It survived the cold waters of the North Atlantic since wood floats. That may be why they call it driftwood.  It washed up on a beach in Nova Scotia and survives to this very day at a local barbershop.  Don’t ask me how I know all this because life is full twisted tales.  And if you know the facts about this story, your either pushing the century mark or a historical academic and you’ve realized by now, I’ve already told you more than I know.

A variety of Shut the Box designs
Imbuia Shut the Box with walnut, curly maple and mahogany diamonds
Cherry Shut the Box with waves of mahogany, curly maple and walnut. WoW
Cherry Shut the Box with waves of curly maple, walnut and mahogany. WoW
Sapele Shut the Box with diamonds of walnut, mahogany, curly maple and redwood