The mainstream media is reporting NASA's line that it's business as usual on the latest space mission. Not so. Within a few hours of the launch, the Discovery astronauts were startled to find that there was a stowaway onboard. And it's none other than sports legend, Yogi Berra!
Our intergalactic Spoof spies report that the stowaway emerged from a large Entenmann's box, hidden in a storage container. Yogi was carrying two AFLAC shopping bags. The crew was speechless; needless to say, Yogi wasn't. "I was afraid for a minute that he had brought along that squawking duck!" one of the astronauts admitted later. But no, thankfully it turned out that the two shopping bags served as luggage. Seeing several sets of eyes settle on the bags, Berra explained, "Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel!" He then looked out a window, informing everyone, "It gets late early out there."
Most of the crew has become quite fond of Berra as well as his Yogiisms, but Flight Commander Steve Lindsey finds his presence somewhat unsettling. Lindsey complains that Berra is always looking over his shoulder as he works on flight plans. "As if that isn't annoying enough," Lindsey has remarked, "he's constantly reminding me, 'You got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.'" Reminded by his colleagues that last year Berra was named the Wisest Fool of the Past 50 Years by the Economist magazine, Lindsey is said to have responded, "Who cares? Sometimes I'd just like to give that guy a boot in the bum! But that's hard to do in a weightless environment."
For his own part, Yogi e-mails wife Carmen several times a day. He's told her that he's enjoying the trip and that "You can observe a lot by watching." On the third day of the mission, apparently the crew had little time for him and he found it quite frustrating. He had to keep his mouth pretty much shut. "It was impossible to get a conversation going," he complained to Carmen, "everybody was talking too much."
Yogi gets along especially well with one Discovery crewmember, Mission Specialist Thomas Reiter of Germany, who will not be making an early return to earth with the astronauts but instead will be remaining at the International Space Station for six months. Rumors abound that Berra may also camp out at the Space Station for some time. According to Spoof spies, Yogi will be setting his own timetable for ending his mission and returning to earth. "It ain't over till it's over," he has said. "And I'm the one who'll decide when it's over."