June 20, 2018

The Great “What If?”

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“The first and great commandment is: Don’t let them scare you.” —Elmer Davis

First, the good news: In the year 2036, there will be no income tax due, that’s right, no April 15th deadline, no audits, no needle-nosed accountants charging more per hour than ladies of the night in Las Vegas.

Why?

According to highly-placed, deeply-knowledgeable scientific sources, there’ll be no taxes due on that April day because an asteroid is due to hit planet Earth. The odds being quoted are 1 in 45,000, that cities, perhaps entire regions, perhaps even the town of Bumble Bee, Arizona, will become mere memories.

What to do?

Enterprising scientists, it’s been learned by a Very Extraordinary Excentric Task Force (code named the Hubble-Bubble), plan to approach the United Nations for emergency funds to create a device dubbed “The Gravity Tractor,” which is designed to divert the incoming asteroid from Earth to another not-so-heavenly body. To convince the UN of the project’s importance, leaders from towns, cities and small communities, possible targets of the asteroid, will be invited to persuade the UN topsiders of—or at least awaken them to—the extraterrestrial menace.

There have been reactions aplenty, even though reports of the potential disaster have just begun to leak out here and there, so no subpoenas have been issued at press-time. The first to comment was the current administration in what is left of our government in Washington D.C. “We will not dignify this preposterous tale that’s obviously being peddled by dirt-loving, tree-hugging environmental extremists,” spoke Dan “Dodgy” Dweber, the official spokesperson for the current administration in what is left of our government in Washington D.C. “This rumor has as much validity as reports that icebergs are melting, polar bears are drowning and Indians have abandoned their ancient island homes due to rising waters. Hogwash I say. And you can quote me on that in your liberal, pinky sheet.”

So be it, Dan.

Next to respond was a spokeswoman for the ailing Fidel in Havana, Cuba. “Not only is news of the asteroid very real, and mucho welcome senor, it means that complete victory over the robber baron capitalists is near. With the collapse of the cities, the surviving few poor people can rise to their rightful position in society and take the reins of power once and for all.”

Meantime, China put out the following statement for the use of the Special Excentric Task Force dubbed Hubble-Bubble. “So now we know. The Americans are angry that we are building missiles of our own to defend ourselves against enemies yet to reveal their grubby schemes. They have come up with something called ‘the Gravity Tractor’ which will be aimed at destroying our expensive defenses when we are sleeping.”

Time was when Russians strung people up who talked the capitalistic talk. Not so these days. The Russian reaction to the news of the asteroid came in the words from a leading entrepreneur that sounded like the expressions of a Wall Street wheeler-dealer: “Let’s gather up some rock after it hits, compose a hokey paragraph or two about its magical spiritual qualities and sell stock so we can buy even more Dachas.”

A pundit by the name of Shapiro dredged up the memory of President Reagan to underscore the point that the prospect of imminent destruction might just cause people to lay down their weapons and go down to the rivers and pray for peace in Jerusalem and all the other war-torn areas, both large and small. Indeed, when Mr. Reagan spoke to the U.N. he said, “I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.”

As history shows, no one listened and nations continued to squabble and quarrel, drop bombs on each other, torture one another, argue about the need for a transfer station in Sedona—while landlords continually raised rents so that small desert towns lost any semblance of character.

To the late president goes the last word. For it was during that speech that he posed this strange question, one that the late author Edward Abbey asked around the same time: “I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and threat of war?”

The UN didn’t hear that sentiment either, so I guess I shall go out on my porch with an adult beverage and wait for the asteroid. Perhaps it may have passengers.

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