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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Everyone Should Just Relax

So these NASA scientists come over, waking me up out of a nice nap, and what they all want to know is, "What are we going to do about this asteroid?"

Quick as a wink, my lightning-fast brain springs into action, and I come back with, "What the hell are you talking about?"

Turns out Asteroid-2012-D14 is going to swing by the earth the middle of the month.  And I said, "D14, did you say D14?  You mean D15, don't you?"

No, they said, it was definitely D14.  This put me in a pickle, I can tell you.  If you know anything about asteroids, you know we have nothing to worry about from Asteroid 2012-D15.  D15's just a big ol' teddy bear, as far as I'm concerned.  Now, it's not an actually teddy bear, you understand, it's still made of rock and ice just like any other asteroid, but it's a nice asteroid.  It wouldn't hurt a fly.

But D14.  Whoa, Nellie.

D14 is the kind of asteroid that if Darth Vaader, Godzilla, the Terminator, and that crab-faced dude from Predator saw it, they'd all be like, "Uh-oh."  To start with, it's the size of a football field.  That's the way it is with asteroids; if they're any decent size at all, it's always the size of a football field.  It's never the size of a badminton court or a bowling alley or a ping-pong table; no, it's always the size of a football field.  Second, it's headed straight for us.

Admittedly, the phrase "straight for us" is sort of misleading, because out in space, nothing really heads straight for anything. The straightest anything travels is about as straight as an eighty-year old with bad nerves piloting a soap-box derby car with a loose steering wheel.  Nevertheless, it's going to come within 17,000 miles of earth.  This does not sound like a big deal perhaps, but the moon is ten times farther away than that, and think of the enormous effect it has on earth, what with tides, menstrual cycles, werewolves, and what-not.

So this asteroid the size of a football field is coming closer than the satellite that tells your GPS the way to the Kwickie Mart.  And it's the size of a football field.  D14 is similar in size to the one that hit Tunguska, Siberia 50,000 years ago.

"But," you say, "Tunguska, Siberia doesn't exist."

Exactly.

So the scientists showed me their charts and after careful study and looking on Wikipedia, I calculated D14 will pass by on February 15.  At this point I shook my knuckly fist at the ceiling, "Curse you, Asteroid 2021-D14!" I said.  February 15 is the worst possible time. If it was February 14, I wouldn't have to worry about dinner reservations for Valentine's Day, but now there's no getting out of it.  Worse yet, knowing that the next day the cities of the earth will be razed and smoking ruins and that bands of lawless humans, reduced to crude barbarism, will roam the countryside looking for canned goods and easy victims will put a damper on the whole evening.  How can I enjoy my "Chocolate Volcano" dessert, knowing this may be my last night on earth?

Sighing in a manly way, I shook my head.  Here's what I told the scientists.  "Tell the news agencies and everyone they should just relax.  Asteroid 2012-D14 definitely will not hit the earth."  I shushed them before they could interrupt.  "I know, I know, it's a lie, but tell them anyway.  The asteroid will either hit the earth or else it won't."  This seemed to cover all options.  "If it doesn't hit the earth, fine.  Everything's ok, and no one's any the wiser.  If it does hit the earth, well BLOOEY.  In that case, it's game over, and you'd all be out of a job anyway, so it won't matter.  You'll be roaming nomads looking for canned goods and victims just like the rest of us."

"But here's the thing," I cautioned them.  "No one must breathe a word of the truth.  As far as everyone out there is concerned, Asteroid 2012-D14 represents no more threat than a dryer sheet."  We all pinky-swore: no news leaks, no Facebook posts, no telling.
...

Oops.

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