I took my family to the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas a couple of years back, and once I found the Asteroids machine my tour ended immediately. I pumped quarters into that thing until I owned six of the top ten scores. My flying skills and lightning-fast hand-eye coordination are the perfect skill set for Asteroids, and before long I had a small group of people kibitzing as I jetted through the black and white galaxy in my trusty triangle, blasting big ‘roids into little ‘roids, little ‘roids into digital dust.
Now I’m sitting next to the phone, waiting for the call from NASA.
Today is the day, man! A 150-foot asteroid is hurtling toward the earth, threatening to be promoted from asteroid to meteor. The massive hunk of rock (playfully named 2012 DA14) is supposed come no closer than 17,000 miles, but I’m worried. I can’t understand why Homeland Security or the Pentagon or Steven Spielberg didn’t play it safe by sending up a swaggering team of over-the-hill, wise-cracking misfits to blow this thing up just in case some 22-year-old code jockey at NASA got distracted by a twitterpic of Mylie Cyrus’ newly-adult coochie and tapped the wrong key, giving him false coordinates on the space rock’s trajectory.
Everyone seems so calm about this. Why aren’t we all freaking out about a rock the size of a Waffle House screaming toward the planet at five miles a second? Does this signify extreme confidence in the science community’s calculations, or is it the collective indifference of a culture that’s far more interested in chattering about Marco Rubio taking a poorly-timed pull from a water bottle while regurgitating Romney campaign talking points?
Wake up, people! The last time something this big smacked into earth, it punched a mile-wide crater in Arizona and flattened everything within hundreds of miles around. (Hang on—after a quick Wikipedia check, I see that it was already flat.) That was about 50,000 years ago, unfortunately too early to have wiped Jan Brewer off the face of the earth. The imaginatively-named Meteor Crater is still there, a chilling reminder that we’re at the mercy of a galaxy full of randomly floating space rubble zipping around all over the place.
I’m telling you, it’s just a matter of time before some chunk of planet dandruff or the O-ring off a worm hole or an off-duty comet or something slams into Earth, ruining everybody’s day. The only sun you’ll see after that will be on a box of Raisin Bran.
What then? Will the richest, smartest, most politically connected of us be shuttled to safety in massive underground shelters like I saw in that one movie? Will it just be bad enough to knock out all oil production, turning the whole world into a savage, post-apocalyptic Australian outback crawling with grunting outlaws dressed in Mötley Crüe stagewear, like that other movie? Or will the impact shudder the earth in such a way that it brings back the long-dormant dinosaurs to once again roam the earth, only they’ll all walk upright and speak in Cockney accents, like in that movie that exists only in my head after mixing NyQuil with Jagermeister?
I don’t know. You don’t know. Nobody knows for sure. But I will tell you this. I’m stocking up on bottled water, toilet paper, Almond Roca, beef jerky and rubber gloves just in case this thing does hit today and it’s every man for himself. I can only hope to god that when the Big One hits and blows the planet immediately into the next geologic era, I can find somewhere to charge my iPod.
You know my number, NASA. Here I am. Waiting. With a roll of quarters.
Check out this terrifying video