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The End of Monica as We Know It Style Showcase

By Tony Kornheiser

Sunday, March 15, 1998; Page F01

I'm telling you, I can't do it again. I just can't. You have to shoot me if I write Monica Lewinsky's name again. It's seven weeks now. The same column. Over and over and over and over and over and over – how many overs is that, six? – and over again. You should see the mail I'm getting. It's brutal. One reader, Howard Silsby, wrote: "It seems obvious Kornheiser's skull has been emptied out. His column is about nothing. Why not replace him with someone who reads a book occasionally?" (I'll have him know I just finished "Ontology for Dummies.") Another reader, Ted Hodges, advises: "Stop with your incredibly crude and vulgar obsession with the Lewinsky thing. You're neither funny nor clever." (Okay, so he's got me there.)

Nobody wants to hear about Monica anymore. Nobody cares what she did with President Clinton. At this point they could put out a better-sex video together and his, uh, polls would go up. (Can I write that?) Look, if everyone including Billy Graham forgives the guy, why am I writing this serial? Lewinsky is killing my career. I am through writing about her. Though it's too bad because this was the week Kathleen Willey testified about her alleged groping by Clinton. That trial would be known as: Willey v. Willie. Hahaha.

Tony, you might want to drop this train of thought.


Well, (1) your column has already started. And (2) WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!

We interrupt the Lewinsky Bandwagon, Week 7, for the latest news from the asteroid belt:


An object even larger than Chris Farley is heading toward us.

I don't want anyone to panic, but here are the first 27 words of a story on the front page of last Thursday's New York Times: "An asteroid is likely to pass within 30,000 miles of Earth on Oct. 26, 2028, a Thursday, and there is the possibility that it would hit Earth."

Oct. 26, 2028. A Thursday.

That's for all of you out there wondering if the end of the world might conflict with your plans to watch "ER." (On the other hand, you can book a babysitter now if you want to go out for dinner on Wednesday.)

Now let's review the key words, of which there are seven:


(Hmmm. So even without Monica this week, we've continued to explore the Big Bang theory.)

Within 24 hours of the original report, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory pooh-poohed the 30,000-mile estimate. They say the asteroid will hurtle harmlessly past us at a distance of 600,000 miles. In other words, no sweat. We won't have to worry that our homes will be crushed into sheets so thin they could be used to wrap sandwiches.

Now you can believe that if you want to. Just remember whom those scientists work for. The U.S. government. The same people who want you to believe there are no flying saucers and "The X-Files" is "just a TV show."

The asteroid is said to be a mile wide. It's vectoring toward us at 4,000 miles an hour. The Titanic scraped against the side of an iceberg that wasn't moving at all, and a thousand people drowned. What chance do you think you have with a hunka hunka solid rock the size of Tysons II? Will the last person to leave please shut off the Grand Coulee Dam?

The upside is: Any collision is still 30 years away. There's enough time for NASA to stop the stonewalling and get serious about building condos on Mars.

The downside: We'll never learn the outcome of Ken Starr's investigation of the Lewinsky matter. He'll still be questioning Betty Currie.

For those of you keeping score at home, the official name of the asteroid is "1997 XF11," which to me sounds like an Acura.

I'd have gone for something scarier, like "Linda Tripp."

(Speaking of Linda, her feathery new hairdo makes her look a bit like Paula Corbin Jones. And Ms. Tripp may be the only woman in the world for whom that's an improvement.)

The Times story said, "The impact of an asteroid one mile in diameter would have devastating global effects, including tidal waves, continent-size fires and an eruption of dust that could cause global cooling." (So we'll be wet, burned and covered with schmootz. Just like after Spring Break in Daytona.)

Then I realized that since it was 30 years away I probably wouldn't live to see it hit. But for the rest of you, here's some advice: Stay away from those 30-year Treasury bills.

I'm trying to think what might be a safe place to hold an end-of-the-world party and watch the crash from. All I've come up with so far is: the moon.

But I am not as worried as some people. If I'm still around, I plan to stand at ground zero when the asteroid hits. Especially if I'm still writing Lewinsky columns.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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