Michael Collins died this week. Michael Collins, the man who came SO close. Michael Collins, Apollo 11’s Third Man. The man circling the moon in his cute little orbiter while Neil (One Giant Step) Armstrong and Edwin (You Can Call Me Buzz) Aldrin got to play on the moon!
So close and yet so far–how many times in your life have you been there? The job you were the “best candidate” for, but somehow didn’t get (remember me, Resurrection Medical Center?) The game show you were chosen to be on, but from whom you never got the final call (I am talking to YOU, Family Feud.) The Mega-Millions Super-Duper Jackpot you were only ONE NUMBER AWAY FROM (okay-that person never was and never will be me.)
In the late astronauts honor it’s time for the Michael Collins Almost Made It Award. And here are the nominees.
- His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales: inching ever closer to the throne, but will he ever get there?
- Actor Phil Bruns. Who is he? Mr. Bruns played Morty Seinfeld (Jerry’s Dad) on exactly one episode of Seinfeld, only to be replaced in future episodes by Barney Martin. Poor Phil, he never made it to Del Boca Vista.
- Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best. The almost Beatles. ‘Nuff said.
- A long line of “Miss America” runner-ups. The only exception, Suzette Charles, who received the 1984 crown when Vanessa Williams was stripped of her title.
- Zeppo Marx. Would you recognize him if he passed you on the street?
- Vicente Yanez Pinzor, captain of the sailing ship Nina that accompanied Christopher Columbus way back in 1492. No cities named after him! No statues to be torn down, either.
- Rosalind Franklin–her work paved the way for discovering the structure of DNA–but it is James Watson and Francis Crick who get credit for the “double helix.”
- Richard Burton was nominated for an acting Oscar 7 times without a win. He’s a near-misser even for the record on that –Peter O’Toole, and now Glenn Close beat him out with 8 losses each.
- How about Al Gore. Eight years as VEEP, one heartbeat or one impeachment conviction away from the presidency, and then to ultimately win the popular vote for the highest office but be bounced by the Supreme Court. You can’t get much closer to being the most powerful man in the world than that.
- Garth Brooks. Although I guess it’s not too bad to be the second best-selling musical act of all time with 156 MILLION units sold. That’s a mere 27 million units behind the Beatles (but about 155.999 million units more than Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best.)
So there you have it, also-rans and almost haves. Who would you choose for the Michael Collins Memorial Award?
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