A Funny Thing Happened at the Art Museum - MyMoon

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A FUNNY THING HAPPENED AT THE ART MUSEUM

Some of the more interesting moments in my life have occurred in the bathroom. I won’t go into an exhaustive list, or details, of these moments, you’ll just have to trust me. This past weekend I was able to add to my list of bathroom moments.

Sunday afternoon I attended a talk given by Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. An astronaut giving a talk at an art museum may seem odd, until you realize what Bean has been up to since leaving NASA in 1981. Since 1981, he has dedicated all his time to painting in his Houston home. Bean actually began taking art classes in the 1960s while training for Apollo 12. The subject of Bean’s art is, as one might expect, the manned missions to the Moon. While some of Bean’s art resembles images taken on the lunar surface by the astronauts, some of his work is also based on actual experiences not captured on film, as well as experiences that, in hindsight, he wished would have happened, one of which Bean talked about. Bean told the story of when he was at mission control watching Alan Shepard drive two golf balls off the lunar surface during the Apollo 14 mission. After some discussion with fellow Apollo 12 astronaut Pete Conrad, Bean and Conrad decided they would have liked to have thrown a football around during their mission. As a result of this conversation, Bean created a painting depicting that very scenario.

OK, so where does the bathroom come into play? I met Alan Bean in the bathroom following his talk. Don’t worry, I washed my hands. I was also able to continue my conversation with Bean out in the hallway as he walked to the book signing that followed his talk. (I was trying to convince him to do a MyMoon webcast. Sorry kids, doesn't look like it will happen.) This is not the first time I have met one of the 12 men to have walked on the Moon. It was, however, the first time I met one in the bathroom. In the past I have met Gene Cernan and Buzz Aldrin. Of the three I have met, Bean was the most personable, and funny. Of the other two I mentioned, I have met one of them on two separate occasions. Let’s just say I walked away disappointed.

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