So I’ve been sitting here for about an hour, sipping away at my drink and listening to Ray Charles and waiting for some inspiration for a new post. In an effort to keep myself awake, I wandered over to Twitter to see what was shaking over there and the first tweet I see makes me realize that I can give you, gentlereaders, an example of a true northern gentleman…
Meet Colonel Chris Hadfield. You can’t get much more northern than the International Space Station, but as far as his terrestrial northerliness goes, he’s from Sarnia, Ontario, so that’s still pretty northern. Colonel Hadfield has spent just shy of 15 hours bobbing around in the vacuum of space on EVAs (extra-vehicular activities) while living on the international space station during Expedition 35 (December 2012 – May 2013). That’s some cojones.
But the fact that he’s got a brass set on him isn’t what makes him a northern gentleman, it helps, sure, but it’s not the defining factor. Remember when I said my definition of a gentleman could be found in the song “I believe in you?”, let’s recap…
You have the cool clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth,
Yet there’s that upturned chin and the grin of impetuous youth…
Those two lines essentially summarize Colonel Hadfield and his time as the most Northerly Gentleman ever. This is a man who sang “Space Oddity” from 431 km above the Earth and who’s been quoted as saying gentlemanly things such as “It’s not enough to shelve your own competitive streak. You have to try, consciously, to help others succeed.” and “Good leadership means leading the way, not hectoring other people to do things your way.”
His quotes and the down to Earth (pun completely intended) wisdom in his book (An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth) certainly ensure that Colonel Hadfield meets then gentlemanly criteria of being a seeker of wisdom and truth. The fact that his rendition of “Space Oddity”, recorded 431 km above the earth, has 2.5x the number of views as the David Bowie original means that he meets the second point as well, his impetuous grin is infectious.
Pick up his book next time you’re out. You won’t regret it. Pick me up a copy too, I borrowed mine and had to give it back before I finished (again, I only get that 10 minutes reading time each day and I appreciate that you spent your reading this).
For a fairly steady stream of insightful, uplifting and otherwise gentlemanly tweets, following him on Twitter @Cmdr_Hadfield or take a look at his website, chrishadfield.ca.
I hope the Colonel has inspired you and given you an example of a real northern gentleman. Until next time, stay gentle, men.