Astronauts having to install a coolant pump outside NASA's International Space Station on Christmas Eve had a few choice words about their employers.
"I thought once you had a government job you never had to work on holidays again. Bull%&$#!!!" griped Rick Mastracchio, one of the two space walkers who had to don suits and venture out into the brisk thin air of outer space.
"We had damn well better be getting time and a half for this crap!" quipped Mike Hopkins exiting the station to begin the long delayed repair work. Both men were in foul moods after having to get out of their nice warm bunks on a day when many Americans were staying snug in beds with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.
The irritability showed as they tried to work together to get the job done as quickly as possible so that they could get back inside to warmth, cups of hot apple cider secretly laced with smuggled in rum and a simulated fireplace on the computer monitors.
"Watch out, you oaf!" snarled Mastracchio as the other bumped into him from behind due to the weightlessness of space.
"Watch yourself." shot back Hopkins, furtively trying to give the finger with a heavily suited gloved hand.
"Damn, you imbecile! You just dropped the wrench!" shrieked Mastracchio, clumsily trying to grab at the rotating piece of metal before it wandered out of their reach. "Now look! We've lost it!"
"Well, go get it!'
"No you jerk, you go get it! You're the one who dropped it!"
"Well you're the one who is wetting his pants about it!"
This sort of exchange went on and became even more heated as it was realized that the job was becoming an all day event. It caused NASA communications workers to shut off contact with the station just to relieve their ears. "I just can't listen to the constant bitching all day. I don't get paid for this." stated one worker. The use of unusually vile profanity by the frustrated astronauts caused NASA to also cut off all audio feed to news agencies.
By the seventh hour the astronauts tempers had disintegrated to the point where they made history with the first ever space fist fight. It was actually more of a wrestling match as they discovered that punching the other astronaut only resulted in yourself being pushed backwards due to non-gravity. The technicians at NASA have recorded the fight with the intention of releasing it on DVD entitled 'Astronauts Gone Wild'.
Unfortunately, NASA astronauts are not represented by any union protection. They can be worked as much as their employer wants and on any day, be it a holiday or not.
Meanwhile, back in the station, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata ,who aided them during their work by operating a 58 foot long robotic arm, was exempt from having to work outside by Japanese law which protects him from having to do outside labor on a legal holiday. This did not set well with the colleagues that he aided.
"Damn foreign workers!" miffed Mastracchio. "Always finding the loopholes in the system to get out of the really tough work!"
"Yeah, also notice the three Russians aren't working at all!" added Hopkins, making this the only thing they had agreed upon the whole day.
The two men considered doing a walk out strike, then decided that they had been outside enough already that day.