This article is part of the My Absolution of Elon Musk series.
“There’s no fucking laws in space, fellas. No progress-stifling regulations among the stars!” I broke my hands from their mutual embrace and gestured to the ceiling. “Job creators like you shouldn’t be beholden to such trifling things.” The clinician caught himself mid-eye roll and managed to mutate the movement into a false yawn. Musk was once again lost in thought. Ideas were all but visibly churning through his sausage grinder of a brain. He slipped each idea into a little intestinal pouch — bite-sized and palatable to any potential investor. Yum. Shareholders love seeing this shit. Excellent optics. I’m adept at this sort of performance but Elon is the real deal, loathsome as he is. Musk’s eyes darted to mine. “I have a rocket company that could probably shoot shit into space without much of an issue. I need to check with the VP over there but I’m pretty sure we can shoot shit into space, no problem.” I nodded and said words like “Genius!” and “Visionary!” with what I think was a decent amount of enthusiasm. Musk didn’t care — he was frantically texting someone on his phone. The clinician looked baffled. “You two — titans of tech that you are — truly believe that it will be easier to perform bleeding-edge genetic modifications in orbit around earth than here in existing facilities actually on earth?” Of course I didn’t think that. I didn’t think about it at all. I was simply seeing what would stick with Musk. I would ride it out from there.
Musk seemed to be finishing up his flurry of texts. “It appears we can’t just shoot shit into space yet. Well we can but it’s apparently pretty complicated and we’d have trouble justifying that to shareholders. My PR guy says it wouldn’t look great if I shot a lab into space to make my dick young. Even if I promise to make other rich guy’s dicks young it probably wouldn’t sit well with the general public, whose dicks would remain old.” He looked dejected but not outright defeated. If I were to continue down this fascinating rabbit hole I had to strike now. “What if you shot a car into space?” I blurted out. My tongue and lips formed the words before I could even form a thought. This is one of the many things I absolutely adore about myself. My subconscious fills in these gaps so that I may concentrate on sating my appetites. I can, at times, ride the train, so to say, by shoveling coal instead of driving. The clinician was becoming visibly distressed. Perhaps he was coming to realize these sorts of conversations happen in boardrooms and opulent corporate campuses the world over and that fifty-something year old frat boys and thirty-something year old code-addled man-children actually came to consensus on actions that affected hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. I was likely projecting, though — he was probably astounded more narrowly by our present display of stupidity. “Well, I think I’ll leave you two magnates to it then. I’m sure you have much to discuss and I have another meeting to prep for.” He smirked. Musk and I braced for a name drop. “Mr. Zuckerberg will be here for a consultation regarding his-” The lady at the front desk made a jarring noise somewhere between a hiss and a shriek. She glared wide-eyed at the clinician. “Ah yes,” he said, “I’m not legally allowed to say his name aloud and certainly not permitted to tell you the nature of his consultation. If — I mean when — we genetically modify you I will have to remove that memory and replace it with some branding placement that elicits pleasant emotional responses when you see our logo and preferred copy writing font.” He slipped quickly back into the hidden doorway and the entrance vanished along with him.
“Why the fuck would I shoot a car into space?” Musk asked me, without an ounce of disdain. It was working — a genuine request for elaboration. I had to pull something together quick. “Well you have all those electric cars. Right? That’s your thing. People love them. Why not just shoot one of those mother fuckers into space and have the world watch as you do it? They’ll love it!” He was lost in thought, now gazing into the buxom Anime woman on the back of his cell phone cover. After a short pause, he blurted out: “I don’t follow.” To be completely honest here, I didn’t even follow. I was winging it. Exhilarating! The narrative of my life, to me, is the string of these moments — checkpoints, where I am completely fucking off, rolling the dice, taking bets with myself against my own charisma and mental agility. I was going to get Elon to launch a car into space. I swear to God. “Listen bud, shoot an electric sports car into space and they will come. You’ll have the public eating out of your hand. You could rocket an elephant into the fucking sun after that. Pull some Thomas Edison shit. No one would care, they’d be too busy throwing money at you and retweeting your entry level internet culture posts.” I was really outdoing myself today. First time meeting Elon Musk and I had this guy’s balls firmly in my mouth — in a powerful way. To clarify: I’m the powerful one in this scenario by having his balls in my mouth. I could bite them off. He furrowed his brow “Entry level? Haven’t you heard of irony?” I hadn’t. “Hear me out,” I said. “You’re paving the way here. You’re doing something wild. You’re playing into the outrageous new celebrity type stunting. Generating buzz. You’re an icon. You’re a brand. You’re a Kardashian. Kind of. Something along those lines. It’s not enough to just say a bunch of stupid shit online — you have to do dumb shit in real life — and get the twenty-four-hour news networks to cover it incessantly for at least two days.” He was fully engaged — brain whirring. “Cut the crap. How does this make my dick young?” I threw back my head and smiled. “Won’t these ultra-hip genetic engineering firms want a slice of your media hype pie? You’re like the Cheesecake Factory of hype, Elon. Making hype cheesecakes with a huge line outside filled with people wanting to overpay for those hype cakes.” Elon shook his head. I continued. “Alright, I’m losing you here. Bad analogy. What I’m trying to say is you can justify putting some of the genetic firm’s tech on your rocket by offering them some publicity in the piranha swarm media blitz of shooting your electric car into space. Think: Cross Brand Synergy.” I finished with the subtle convincing hand gesture I use after giving the PowerPoint presentation on business ethics I do not agree with but am legally required to give. Musk looked like he had released a fart that surprised even him. “I can do that. You’re right. People would love to watch me send a Tesla into orbit. I could be using this money for anything but I’m using it for this. This sort of technology always trickles down to the masses. Like Tang and space blankets. Dippin Dots.” He was right. I could see the idea cementing in his consciousness, taking root in his mind, prepping for actualization through his will. And the legions of workers he commanded. Quite a few overachieving millennials would be working nights to accomplish this nonsense. We exchanged twitter handles and I added him on Whatsapp before we left. He asked me to get coffee, but I was afraid he would press me on my idea more and perhaps change his mind. It would be better to leave him be to work it out. I was only eighty percent sure he would follow through with it.
There it is: my shame laid bare. I wanted to see how far I could push the fellow. The act of manipulating anyone — no matter how absurd — regardless of self service, tangible gain, or personal interest, is utterly irresistible to me. I had to watch a grown man of substantial means follow through with an idea I conceived in the same way a child recants a fantastical lie, and I have no one to blame but myself. Though I doubt any substantial benefits will actually come of this poorly devised stunt, I will absolutely welcome any advances it may provide to my goal of redesigning my body to wear the Halo armor that lays waiting in the panic room under my Alameda estate. I wish to apologize for subjecting the public to a media bonanza of Silicon Valley foolishness that likely won’t even benefit me anyway.
Elon — I hope you can make your body young again too. I hope we can both get what we want and deserve: immortality, or at least the facade of it. Perhaps we can meet again and combine our incredible minds and impressive means to achieve this goal. Or maybe, as has recently entered my mind through a particularly vivid dream, make one of the Thundercats in real life. The woman one. We can discuss this more on Whatsapp.
– Townsend Reed (@distastefulman)