I know, dear reader, that for you it is Friday. Oh, how joyful you must be. The week has all but passed; the debauched joy-scape of the weekend lies ahead. And beyond that, the blood-stirring fall landmarks: The Game, Thanksgiving and somewhere beyond that, Christmas. Thoughts of family, home and old friends percolate in your weary but content minds. You are young, you are hopeful and you are alive.
However, for me, as I write this article, it is Tuesday. Trapped as I am in the past, I am unable to share in your placid appreciation of life’s joys. I have been forced to put my hopes and aspirations on hold. I am currently in the process of coming to terms with the fact that I will never see my family again. After that, I will make peace with my God. The reason for this, you see, is that I along with everyone else on Earth, am about to die.
And in what way will this Armageddon consume us all? Will it be through fire? The convulsions of the earth itself? The spread of poisonous spores? Vindictive aliens? No — catastrophe will come in a form that has terrified us ever since we were dinosaurs (look it up, science): a giant freaking asteroid.
According to yon Associated Press, around 6:28 p.m. on Tuesday (which, I shit you not, is the exact time as I type this sentence) an asteroid a quarter of a mile across will thread the needle between the Earth and the Moon. The “scientists” who did the “math” say the asteroid will hit neither body. But we all know what that’s code for: It’s going to smack Mother Earth right in her big, earthy face, creating clouds of ash, powerful earthquakes, towering tsunamis and general unpleasantness for all living things until we destroy each other in a battle royale for the planet’s last stalk of edible corn.
You might ask why these scientists would lie. Isn’t it obvious? They want less competition for the corn. Also, most of them caught wind of this months ago and escaped to safety in their intergalactic spaceships (they’ve been hiding them in the Grand Canyon since 1968). As one of the few remaining humans aware of the coming doom, I have decided to pass a few of my final peaceful hours in as worthwhile a way as I can: by writing a column for this esteemed newspaper.
And this brings me to my main point, which is that our planet is a really lovely place. It makes me sad on a level I can’t quite articulate when I realize it will be destroyed at some point in the next 15 minutes. So I will indulge myself and pen a brief and heartfelt thank you letter to this little blue ball that has so agreeably whirred around in space for the last few billion years.
Dear Earth, thank you for being hospitable to life. Thank you for not being too close to the sun and burning us all to death, and for not being too far away and making us cold. Thank you for having a tasty oxygen atmosphere. Thank you for your powerful magnetic field that keeps us all from being sizzled by radioactive rays. Thank you for allowing us to evolve intelligence. Now for the really important stuff. Thank you for sandwiches. Thank you for the music of Paul Simon. Thank you for the movie “Singin’ in the Rain.” Thank you for my cat. Thank you for self-indulgent newspaper columns. I don’t know about, like, natural disasters and human misery and stuff, but I’ll give you a pass. You did good, Earth. I’ll miss you for real.
Ah, this feels good. I am at peace. I look up into the night sky and contemplate the fact that I will soon be a pulverized cloud of dust, freely floating in the incomprehensibly grand universe. But the sky — it’s not lit with the hellish glow of an incoming meteor! And the time — it’s midnight. How did that happen? In my reverie, did six full hours go by? Could it be that it is Wednesday, that the danger has passed? Were the scientists telling the truth after all? Was there never really any danger to begin with?
Well I feel like an idiot. Have a good weekend.