When you are a man who has everything--and has had everything for some time--how many pleasures are left upon this planet?
It is, therefore, with a vast thrust of uplift that I report that Ashton Kutcher, he of CBS' "Two And A Half Men," a huge but fragile Twitter account, and a smile that floats many a romcom, is being taken into space.
Time magazine reports that Kutcher has become the 500th human being to sign up for a suborbital Virgin Galactic flight.
Virgin's Sir Richard Branson was so heartily chuffed by this increase in his revenue that he descended upon the Virgin blog and claimed that Kutcher is "as thrilled as we are at the prospect of being among the first to cross the final frontier (and back!) with us and to experience the magic of space for himself."
Yes, this is a round-trip flight. And I will not stoop to the churlish depths that some (including Time) plumbed by suggesting that Demi Moore would not wish his return to Earth.
Instead, I would like to focus on the spacecraft itself, which looks like three planes that have been glued together by an enthusiast.
Oh, wait. It is. The actual Virgin Galactic space plane is the one in the middle. It's a nice little Space Shuttley thing with a central tube and two wing parts. (I have embedded the video.)
Virgin promises that passengers will need just "two or three fabulous days of preparing with your crew." This is all it takes for one to learn what it feels like to fly at speeds nearing 2,500 mph?
The actual ticket is a mere $200,000, and the deposit is a mere $20,000. On each flight, however, there will only be 6 passengers. This might make it very awkward, if one of them decides to spend the whole time working on a bulky laptop or forgets to shower during those two or three fabulous days of preparation.
Kutcher is not the first star to have signed up for a galactic experience. It is alleged that Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and Katy Perry have all deposited their deposits, in the hope of finally finding an experience that being a star doesn't normally afford.
I wonder if passengers will be able to veto fellow travelers. What if Jennifer Aniston suddenly signed up and wanted to be on the 4 o'clock with Brangelina? What if Charlie Sheen tried to insist that he wanted to be on the 6 o'clock with Kutcher?
The last thing Virgin Galactic surely needs is to foster space rage. I am sure its customer service representatives are as sensitive as its flight attendants and will find some way of ensuring harmony among the stars.