The fire next time

Boy, did this hapless prof (his bit starts at about 1:40) ever miss an opportunity. The Times’ third-string buffoon is asking him, anxiously, What do we do about the end of the world? To which the only reasonable response is, Sit back and enjoy it. What fun it would have been to deliver that line.

But no. Instead, the prof wants to assure us that all is really well. NASA has it under control. Radar scans the skies with eyes that never sleep, as some 50s sci-fi movie once noted, in an unintentional near-Alexandrine. And if that fatal asteroid — twin to the one that took out T Rex and his kin — is seen to be heading our way, we’ll know about it in plenty of time.

Plenty of time for what, exactly? It’s like the old nuclear war drill: Sit down. Open your legs. Bend over. And kiss your ass goodbye.

I like the sense of finitude and contingency this meteor shower suggests.

We’ve had a pretty good run, as a species. We’ve done a fair amount of cool stuff, and committed some horrors too. I don’t think you can add these things up and arrive at a positive or negative scalar value.

But in any case, for well or ill, nothing lasts forever — not even precious Us. In spite of our universalizing, heaven-storming pretensions. We are not going to storm heaven. But sooner or later heaven is going to storm us.

Every species that goes extinct is a loss, of course, and so would we be. Chartres Cathedral would stand for a couple of hundred years, maybe, after the Last Man took his last breath, and then fall down. That would be a shame. One hopes some intergalactic explorers arrive before its final collapse and take the space-alien equivalent of a YouTube video. Even the Krell would be impressed, I think.

I’m old enough now that lots of people I like have died, or started to die, in the usual sad hugger-mugger one-at-a-time human way. There’s something to be said for the meteor. At least we could link hands and all go out together. Nobody would have to outlive, or be outlived.

What will the cockroaches say about us after we’re gone, I wonder?

They weren’t so bad, really. There was that awful boric acid. That was a bore. But then… remember the doughnuts? NOBODY makes doughnuts like that anymore.

7 thoughts on “The fire next time

  1. The big rock hit the atmosphere with the force of 30 first gen A bombs and at a speed of 33,000 mph.
    According to Wikipedia the average orbital speed of the earth around the sun is 66,600 mph.
    These facts suggest that ‘we’ jumped the curb and ran over a little old lady who wasn’t fast enough to get out of ‘our’ way.

    Straighten me out SMBIVAns !?

  2. ——————————-”They weren’t so bad, really.”—————————————-

    Right, better and better –

    ”As early as this April, Yale plans to welcome a training center for interrogators to its campus.

    The center’s primary goal would be to coach U.S. Special Forces on interviewing tactics designed to detect lies. Charles Morgan III, a professor of psychiatry who will head the project, calls these tactics “people skills.” These techniques would be honed using New Haven’s immigrant community as subjects. …..

    Ah, ‘people skills’

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