Dear Mr. President,

Now that you’re calling for an additional billion dollars for NASA, I’m sure you’re open to ideas from concerned citizens on how to use the money. Here’s a modest proposal for you: moon colony for annoying celebrities.

Now, before you call your dogs on me, just hear me out. I know you want to build some kind of research station on the moon. Don’t.

Total waste of money, sir. We can only drop the hammer and the feather so many times; and hydroponics? Boring! Who wouldn’t rather send Stephen Baldwin and Pauly Shore to a Bio-dome they really won’t be able to escape? Haven’t we suffered enough under the tyranny of Bob Goen and Mary Hart? What about irritating pop belters like Jessica Simpson, Pink, and Clay Aiken? Well, sir, in space no one can hear them sing.

I know it seems cruel, but it’s not like this sort of thing is new. It’s called exile, and it’s perfectly legal. Throughout history, whenever a state had a problem with a certain element of society, they sent it somewhere else. The Roman emperor Augustus exiled Ovid to the Black Sea for writing some offensive poems. Australia was a virtual dumping ground for England’s criminals and political prisoners, many of whom were forced to work as indentured servants under the hot Aussie sun.

Even more recently, you yourself exiled enemy combatants to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba indefinitely. (Remember?) So why not send some irritating celebrities to the moon?

My proposal would be on a relatively small scale (only the most grating public figures), and far more humane. Some might even say luxurious! For a billion dollars we can afford to build a moon colony worthy of MTV’s Cribs, so the exiled celebs will actually want to stay there. We will provide a fully appointed “apartment suite” for every exile – oxygenated and climate controlled, of course. Every amenity will be provided free of charge, the fruits of the creative process without the offending process. His ice secured, P. Diddy will no longer feel the need to “uh huh” and “yeah” his way through another track. With her future comfort provided for her on the moon, Trishelle will be able to say no to another season of the Gauntlet, and Ryan Seacrest to the fourth American Idol.

Just kidding, of course. I am actually quite fond of Ryan Seacrest, and have a feeling earth needs him now more than ever. Which brings up an important question: how to choose who goes and who stays? One man’s Meryl Streep in “Sophie’s Choice” is another man’s Jessica Alba in “Honey.” Am I the only one who wants to exile David Spade to the Sea of Tranquility, “Tommy Boy” notwithstanding? If so, then it wouldn’t be fair to send him, now would it?

I propose establishing a Department of Lunar Exile, over which I would be glad to serve as Secretary if you will appoint me. A tribunal will deliberate and vote on who gets shipped off. We will take into account current celebrity status, since it would be a waste of money to exile someone who hasn’t been heard from in years (Hear that Jenny McCarthy, Laura Dern, Charo? Remain in obscurity and you will be spared.) The DLE will also administer the day-to-day life on the moon infrastructure, goods and services, health care, law enforcement and, most importantly, prevent any exiles from ever appearing on the airwaves back on earth. (That is, after all, the reason they are on the moon.)

Because the American prison system should be about rehabilitation, not merely punishment, we will offer a parole procedure for those minor offenders with a compelling reason to return. Each celebrity seeking parole will be shown the worst of his oeuvre and then be tested on why he is so annoying. He will be scored on various points, including self-perception, candor, and level of remorse. Tom Cruise can return to Earth if he shows an understanding of the difference between labored breathing and acting, and admits that “Vanilla Sky” was a mistake. Bill O’Reilly will have to admit he is anything but fair and balanced, which almost assures once he’s on the moon he will never return. When an exile returns, one will be sent to the moon in his or her place – you know as well as I do, sir, there’s always another Elizabeth Berkeley waiting for her trip to oblivion.

So where do we go from here? As any NASA engineer will tell you, baby steps, sir. We have neither the time nor the resources to launch the full program immediately. So rather than build a whole Beverly Wilshire up there, why not a modest little lunar bungalow?

We will designate one celebrity to pilot our program. I nominate Bill Paxton, who is not only irritating, but who appeared as an astronaut in the movie “Apollo 13.” Should Paxton prove an unfit moon pioneer, Bill Pullman — who cut his space teeth as Lone Star in Mel Brooks’s “Spaceballs” — will go in his stead. Paxton or Pullman will live for one year on the moon to show the naysayers that it can be done. He will be joined the following year by Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, and the entire cast of SeaQuest, and so on until the colony is up and running.

Now I am mindful that we are all sinners, but some of us are just more annoying than others. I urge you — no, I implore you — if we are going to spend needlessly and wastefully, let’s waste it on something that Americans can appreciate.

Your Humble Servant,

Eric Eagan