He has had a long-running dispute with the Omega over the use of pictures of him wearing one of their watches on the Moon, for which he has never been paid. He could sue, but knows it would reflect badly on him: "You don't want to tangle with Disney, the friend of children. I had a shrink who said, 'Buzz, you are so lucky that you had to change, to grow. I have a lot of frailties, a lot of shortcomings, but I am a much more productive person now than I ever was at the peak of my astronaut career." 'Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home From the Moon' by Buzz Aldrin (Bloomsbury) is available from Telegraph Books for £14.99 £1.25 p&p.
But it's different with pastors — not totally different, but different. Spurgeon said, "Ours is more than mental work — it is heart work, the labour of our inmost soul" (Spurgeon, , [Zondervan Publishing House, 1972], 156). So the question for us is not just How you keep on when the marriage is blank, and a child has run away, and the finances don't reach, and pews are bare and friends have forsaken you; the question for us is more than, How do you keep on living?
So when our heart is breaking we must labor with a broken instrument. It's, How do you keep on adversity; it is something very different to keep on preaching, Sunday after Sunday, month after month when the heart is overwhelmed.
It is a measure of how much his life changed, and how quickly, that within eight years of the tickertape parades and being feted around the world as a hero of our times, he ended up working at the Cadillac dealership in Beverly Hills.
Not that he sold a single car in the six months or so he spent there.
Surprisingly, Aldrin's reservations about describing what it's like to kick up moon dust for an hour and a half, as he did on July 20, 1969, are in marked contrast to his willingness to discuss – free of charge – the dark side of his life: his struggles with depression and alcoholism, his two failed marriages, his difficult relationship with his father, and the tragedy of his mother (born Marion Moon), who killed herself shortly before the lunar mission because she did not think she could handle her son's imminent fame.
And, while refusing to elaborate on his celebrated description of the Moon's "magnificent desolation" – the title of his new autobiography – he is happy to talk about the man who accompanied him on his incredible journey.Everyone faces adversity and must find ways to persevere through the oppressing moments of life.Everyone must get up and make breakfast, and wash clothes, and go to work, and pay bills, and discipline children and generally keep life going when the heart is breaking.Sharing his extraterrestrial experiences is, he concedes, "an appropriate and necessary thing: it's what people want.But I can't just keep doing that for ever in my life [he's 79] unless I'm appropriately compensated." So, is he reluctant to talk about Apollo 11?"No, I wouldn't say I'm reluctant, but my [interest] is not in the past…" And he proceeds to roll out a diversionary anecdote about how, when he was young, his father would reminisce endlessly about the early days of aviation and how "regrettable" that was.