Whenever I hear that a giant space object might hit the earth and wipe out all intelligent life, I go into panic mode.
Not in the sense that I seek a bunker or start stocking up supplies. Far from it. I am not sanguine about my odds of survival in the face of any Big Apocalyptic Event. In zombie movies, I am the person who hyperventilates and dies somewhere on the left of the crowd in the first frame. I am the one the monster devours second or third, as an amuse-bouche. My chance of surviving alien invasion, asteroid collision, or massive tidal waves? Similarly zilch. And why should I expect anything better? The only skill I have cultivated in my twenty-three years on the planet is the ability to comment wryly on the passing scene, which is never in great demand in times of crisis. I can’t even tend my own garden. I kill cacti.
No, I’m resigned to my fate. I panic because I have a greater mission to perform. “Listen, Earth,” I say. “Asteroid hits in T-4 hours. Time to destroy all evidence the Kardashians were here.”
The aircraft-carrier-sized asteroid 2005 YU55 is plummeting towards earth at 39,000 miles per hour! We have to ditch this junk!
I mean it. When, inevitably, more intelligent forms of life supplant us on our conveniently situated planet, they will go digging through our stuff to get a sense of who we were as people. And, frankly, I do not like the picture we are preparing for them.
Go through any Urban Outfitters and tell me you wouldn’t be embarrassed if the next occupants of the planet discovered we were willing to pay good money for plaster owls and distressed sweaters with pictures of raccoons on them. Jettison the lot! Leave nothing but the works of Shakespeare, the Beatles discography, and the original Star Wars trilogy without all the extraneous screaming and dragon calls. (Does a copy of this still exist?)
Oh, and the iPhone. I stand behind the iPhone.
Time for a bonfire of the vanities — or at least the Snuggies.
“Why are you on my lawn burning all my copies of the Kardashian Wedding special?” people demand. “Because there is a greater good at stake!” I yell. “Here, pass me that Shamwow.”
“I think people in the future will be impressed by the Shamwow,” they mutter, but they toss it in anyway. It emits noxious fumes and threatens to end me right then and there.
The dinosaurs at least had the decency to jettison all their embarrassing junk before slipping off their mortal coils, or at least to leave notes for the woolly mammoths to destroy their stashes of pterodactyl pornography before more intelligent lifeforms arrived.
I am trying to figure out how to communicate with the cockroaches about this. “WE NEVER ENJOYED JERSEY SHORE!” I hiss-click, wondering how Kafka ever got this to work. The cockroach actually seems frightened of me.
“You realize that the asteroid is not supposed to actually hit?” people ask. “The scientists at NASA were quite strong on that point. It will pass within 200,000 miles of the earth — admittedly, this is violating the terms of the restraining order — but it won’t actually make an impact.”
“Oh,” I say. “Are you sure you trust those scientists? Whenever scientists get to gether they tend to emerge a few months later suspiciously glowing, sometimes with excitement and at other times with radium.”
“They’ve been observing 2005 YU55 for years,” they say. “It’s fine.”
They reach past me to rescue an album of Justin Bieber holiday songs from the flames.
I sigh. “Well,” I mutter. “It was worth a try.”