Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Now Might Be a Good Time to Panic

I entered the break room at work today and glanced at the big TV that’s always playing. As usual, it was tuned to some news channel—CNN, I think. The talking head was prattling about a political campaign in someplace like Nebraska… nothing to see here, so I was about to walk away.

THEN, I look down at the little ticker at the bottom of the screen, where they put Other-Stuff-You-Might-Be-Interested-In. It has the following message, and this is an exact quote: “Bus-sized satellite to hit Earth Friday.” Mmm-kay… is this not a big deal to anyone?

Apparently they deemed this worthy of no more bandwidth than is usually set aside for things like results of an international championship Dachshund race, or what Lindsay Lohan had for breakfast (Vodka and Prozac). They didn’t even say what time this catastrophe is supposed to happen, or what areas might be doomed to certain destruction. Maybe it’s headed for France, so nobody cares? If my dining room is anywhere near the projected point of impact, I wish they’d say so. I mean, they gave the name of the winning wiener dog, but on the impending horrible death from above, nothing. Just one line, seven words, 38 characters (counting the spaces and hyphen).

I guess a Friday impact gives us three whole days to prepare, so why rush it, eh?

This bears so much resemblance to an old clip from The Simpsons, it’s uncanny. In a scene that spoofs the sometimes skewed balance between hard news and fluff reporting, Homer turned on his TV just in time to hear anchorman Kent Brockman declare, “…which, if true, will mean the end of all life on Earth. And now, a story about a mischievous raccoon who caused big problems at city hall today.” (It was something like this, as I recall. Could have been the old standby, a waterskiing squirrel.)

It’s a BUS-sized satellite, folks! Tour bus, school bus, short bus—doesn’t really matter. That thing will be doing about Mach 90 by the time it hits the ground… or comes through the roof of Wal-Mart.

I need to Google this and get some detailed info. Chances are, NASA is all over it like a fat kid on a jelly donut. Maybe there’s a Patriot missile already locked on, or they’re prepping Bruce Willis to fly up there and blow the thing apart. Of course, that would just make dozens of Smart car sized satellite chunks rain down on us. Have you thought of that, NASA? Will somebody in Houston please make sure they’re tracking this bus and figuring out where it will make its last stop? If you need me, I’ll be prowling through my neighbors’ yards, in the hope that somebody has an old bomb shelter I can break into. Maybe it’s good they’re not publicizing this very well.

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