Odd that I should get the news in such a low-tech way, considering Armstrong's achievement was so high-tech at the time. Actually, it's high-tech now, since no one in the 43 years since has come up with a suitable encore (by the way, subtract 43 years from 1969. You get 1926. It will be another year before Lindbergh crosses the Atlantic.)
I have mixed feelings about the space program. Unlike most other kids of my generation, I never particularly wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. A cartoonist, stand-up comedian, movie star, sitcom star, rock star, author, Mad Magazine writer, late-night horror movie host, newspaper columnist, talk show host, disc jockey, and TV news anchorman, yes. I wanted to be all those things at one time or other as a kid, but not, for some reason, an astronaut. I was a fool not to have had such an ambition. Why, with the same worldwide audience that Neil Armstrong commanded, it would have been an opportune time to impress all of Earth with my Boo-Boo imitation ("Gee, Yogi...") Instead, Armstrong wastes the moment babbling on about small steps and giant steps. Some people just don't know how to rise to the occasion.
Even if I didn't want to be an astronaut, I was fascinated by the space program as a kid. Especially if blast-off occurred during school hours, and they rolled the TV into the classroom so we could all see it and get a break from having to divide 38 into 826401 (the pocket calculator wouldn't come along until I was in about the sixth grade.) And really, it was just plain exciting. Just plain entertaining. Nonfiction science-fiction, if that makes any sense. But should millions of taxpayers money be spent just to keep a little kid like me entertained? Especially if I'd rather be a late-night horror movie host anyway? I'll answer those questions, and maybe raise a few more, in a future post about the space program.
For now, here's what all the excitement was about in '69: