“The Sky Is Falling!”

On Tuesday evening, November 8, 2011, I took the dogs to the dog park to try and wear them out so I could sit down at the computer and get some work done without them constantly interrupting me. How in the world does a work at home mother of three children with boundless amounts of energy do it? Maybe it is because women are multi taskers and men aren’t. (That’s another topic for another time.)

Flash back to the dog park. There were dogs everywhere running, playing chase and bump, tennis ball keep-away and numerous other dog games only they understand and developed through years of dog developed social interaction. I have given up trying to understand and only appreciate it that these games tire out the puppy.

One thing I did notice was that none of the human element was out playing toss and fetch with their dogs…they were all hiding in the trees…like we used to do as kids during a lighting storm. One guy was wearing a bright yellow construction hard had that said Builder Bob on it. He would periodically peer out from the tree branches, take a runners stance, dash out in to the field flailing his arms and begin screaming like Chicken Little, “The sky is falling. The sky is falling.”

Around 6:18pm Eastern Standard Time, a man dressed in a suit, looking like he had stepped right out of the fifties, ran from under the tree, looked at the sky and yelled “Look, up in the sky!” Someone else yelled “It’s a bird.” Another dog owner joined in “It’s a plane.” A tall thin man, who appeared not to have eaten in days, wearing scientific field clothing, a pith helmet with binoculars in hand, proclaimed in a calm even but authoritative voice, “NO. It’s 2005 YU55 (its name derives from the year and month in which it was found).”

The crowd calmed down instantly. Chicken Little removed his Bob the Builder hard hat, fifties man removed his suite coat and hung it on a finger over his shoulder and everyone took a deep sigh of relief. The unknown now known and disaster, if not averted, postponed.

Mr. Authority explained that YU55 was nearly 860,000 miles from Earth and although it was within the orbit of the Moon, it posed no threat to us. He informed us that David Rabinowitz, a Yale planetary scientist. says that an asteroid of this size…the size of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier, approx 400 meters, four football fields, long… only screams by the Earth “about once every 100 years.” And presumably since sound does not travel in the vacuum of space, it’s screaming can’t be heard and “one this large hits the Earth only every few 100,000 years.

Sweet! We can now all calm down and continue playing with childlike abandon, one less thing to worry about, at least for about another 100 years. With any luck and doctors being able to repair my heart, replace my knees and undoubtedly in the not too distant future become able to do an entire body trans-plant, I will be around for the next eye in the sky scare.

Until then I will be building my deep in the earth…deeper than the meteor crater in the southwest…shelter so if the next one comes at the 100,000 year mark, I can survive the impact and perish in the solar winter that is sure follow.

OR…I just go about my day to day life and simply worry about that car barreling down on me at sixty miles an hour…its screaming tires very, very audible.


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