My adventures as a 1970s space utopian

Highest hope of all 1970s boys.
Highest hope of all 1970s boys.

In 1979, when I was 10, I lived inside a NASA-centric and bionic world. Humans were finally capable of the ultimate power, speed, and flight—not in fantasy, but in reality, through bionics, jetpack, plane, and rocket. Like every other boy in the world, I wanted to be an astronaut. Or a bionic man. Or a professional Estes model rocket builder. Or maybe just someone who could making a living spraying things with chrome spray paint.

When I was seven, my best friend Dodger and I would break the large eggrocks in my driveway by smashing them into each other. Inside: luxurious crystal caverns. Have you ever seen the insides of a broken eggrock geode?

The ones Dodger and I broke looked kinda like these, but not as colorful and the center was not hollow. It was white, yellow, pink, lightest green—these colors, solid, with pieces jaggedly interlocked, like a Brach’s jelly nougat.

What made these rocks space-age was the fact that, before we cracked them in half, the rocks were spray painted with chrome. This object, the chrome crystal, summarized and symbolized my highest hopes and everything that was sacred to me. One one hand, it was an ode to 1950s sci-fi, with its chrome and crystal cities.But space travel was a 1960s science reality, and everywhere in popular culture. Kids were even drinking space drinks (Tang) and eating space food (Space Food Sticks). It’s like the Gernsback world distilled by William Gibson in The Gernsback Continuum but with less art deco, more NASA white, less utopian hope, and more space-flavored commoties offered in its stead. To see how the space utopia actually panned out, watch this video:

Mendacious marketing. No astronauts ever ate one of these sticks. Pillsbury had to pull the commercial and all claims of NASA-relatedness.