This Is Not Funny

So I’ve been thinking.

The Universe is big. Mind-bogglingly big. So big that it is really not possible to fully comprehend it. Unless maybe you’re Steven Hawking, and I’d be willing to bet even he realizes that the Universe is just ridiculously, obscenely big.

OK. So in all of that immensity there are lots of stars. Channeling Carl Sagan, I would go so far as to say there are billions and billions of them. And that’s oversimplifying it to an embarrassing degree. I’m not friends with any astronomers, so I don’t suppose anyone will hold me to task for that. But I digress.

Around those stars orbit planets. So many planets that I would be hard pressed to even make up a number to represent them. Maybe a trazazingajillion. Maybe more.  Maybe two trazazingajillion. And every day we’re learning more and more about many of them.

Every human being, alive or dead in July of 1969 is in this picture, save one - the photographer Michael Collins.
Every human being, alive or dead in July of 1969 is in this picture, save one – the photographer Michael Collins.

But for all that, there is only one (on which we can can say with certainty), that there is a precious, fragile gem. That gem is called life, and that planet is called Earth.

We live on paradise. Only Earth, as far as the best and brightest minds can say without doubt, harbors life. Cauliflower, amoebas, dogs, porcupines, stinkweed, naked mole-rats…and people. These things grow on the surface of this rare and tender place.

And of all these things, I can’t help but believe, it is the people that this vast Universe is most disappointed with. So much potential. So much actually achieved. So much more to do.

But forever, as far back as we can know, and as recently is this moment, we have invested unfathomable amounts of our existence … in butchering one another. We are simply incapable of living with one another without reaching out and killing each other.

And why? Because your skin looks different than mine. Because we believe in a different God. Or because I believe in God and you do not. Or because there is oil beneath your dirt and I want it. Or because today I decided that someone needed to die.

I know that there are many good people on our little blue ball. And these good people come from everywhere, look different from one another, and believe different things. But they see one another and think, “That person is just as worthy of his place here as I am, and I should accept him for what he is. My brother. My planetary cohabitant. Another version of me.”

We are all made of the same stuff: the remnants of long dead stars forged into living things. Think about that for a moment. The next person you see was once a brilliant, shining star, just as you were. Just as you both still are.

So how about we stop destroying our greatest resource – one another. Wake up. Be worthy of the gift the Universe has given you. Just stop.

Virginia Officials Fight to Curb Bar-B-Q at Train Wreck Site

Flames rise into the sky as Virginians rush to Bar-B-Q gophers.
Flames rise into the sky as Virginians rush to Bar-B-Q gophers.

After a train crashed and burst into flames officials in Virginia had to mobilize to curtail a rush of locals who gathered to use the flames to bar-b-q their dinner. Several gophers, muskrats and weasels were confiscated as toothless denizens ran toward the burning train.

“We’ve learned to expect this sort of thing,” said Bruce Bentricle, Commissioner of Illegal Cooking at Sites of Public Disaster. “People around here just love their barbecue. It’s very hard to keep them away from an open flame of any kind. When asked if this sort of thing had happened often, Bentricle replied, “Why do you think we have a Commissioner of Illegal Cooking at Sites of Public Disaster? This sort of thing happens all the time. Not only the barbecue, but the train wrecks as well. We think the engineers are in cahoots with the gopher cookers.”

Also on the scene was Director for the Institute for the Study of Intentional Train Wrecks, Myron Pockmyer, who said, “Virginia is just a magnet for this sort of thing. You can’t even get a train from point a to point b without someone derailing it in hopes of causing a fire so a bunch of inbred so and so’s can cook their road kill over it.”