I may have been just been saved from myself.
Neil Armstrong is in town today.
You have to have an invitation to see him. I wasn’t invited.
And, really, that’s probably a good thing.
I’ve long said I don’t want to meet Neil Armstrong. But the truth is, if I’d been invited, I would have been tempted to go.
Let me explain — That’s nothing against Neil. In fact, quite the opposite.
I respect Neil a lot. And that’s why I wouldn’t want to meet him.
Neil Armstrong is a legend. A historical figure. He’s the one person alive today whose name will endure alongside Columbus and Shakespeare and Lincoln and Caesar and Plato.
We live in a time when our legends are all too human. Too many of the giants of their age engage too readily in their flaws, and the pervasive media makes that too well known.
And yet Neil Armstrong, likely the most historic man alive, carries himself with dignity. Decades after the deed that put him in the history books, decades after his nation finished with him and gave him back to his life, he still conducts himself in a way fitting for his place in history.
He’d be the first to tell you that he’s just a man, and, yet, it’s the way he lives as a man that makes him a worthy legend.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet giants and heroes, from B.B. King to Alan Bean to Lord British. And meeting them tarnished none of them. But it did make them a little smaller. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Spend any time with B.B. King, and you’ll be amazed at how down-to-Earth he is. It’s easy to imagine chatting with him at Target while buying groceries.
Here’s a great secret in life — everybody’s human. And sometimes it can be nice to get to know the human side of a story.
But Neil may be the last larger-than-life legend I have left. The last giant left in my world. The last myth.
And I’m not sure if I’m yet ready to live in a world without legends.