They say the planet Mars is closer to Earth than it has been in 60,000 years. Although for some reason, it'll be this close again on August 28, 2287. Don't bother asking me how the hell that stuff works. Just another one of those 59,716 year perihelial discrepancies you hear guys whispering about in 8th grade gym class. Of course, holding crap like that close to their vest is what enables our big time scientists to pull down the really serious bucks. For the briefest period of time it's only 34,646,418 million miles away, spitting distance in solar system terms, and in honor of our mutual stroll, we're shooting stuff over at the Angry Red Planet like it's an abandoned house across the street and we're trying to smash one of the few remaining unbroken windows.
NASA has already sent two Mars Exploration Rovers, the "Spirit" and "Opportunity," while the European Space Agency has dispatched something called the "Mars Express" carrying "Beagle 2," presumably in honor of Charles Schulz. Even the Japanese floated over a ship named "Hope" designed to study the upper atmosphere of the 4th planet from the sun. The orbit around Mars is about to resemble the approach to a shopping mall the weekend before Christmas. And the hot new must-have item this year is soil.
Of course, no one here in the San Francisco Bay Area has been able to snatch a glimpse of this once in a lifetime celestial marvel, since our summer fog materialized just in the nick of time to obscure not just the skies above but also the street lamps in front and often the shoes below. Its so foggy, I can barely make out my lovely wife, Debi Ann, standing on the sidewalk with her bags packed, waiting to be picked up by one of her home planet emissaries from her marooning on this watery hell.
She is convinced her people are flying down right now to bring her back and in preparation she has dropped a homing beacon and packed artifacts and the voluminous notes she has taken of our civilization. The good news is apparently I'm in line for a decent reward for having taken halfway decent care of her. But I did worry exactly what she's going to tell her fellow Martians when she reports back to base camp and explains how life works here on the Third Rock From the Sun, so I snuck a peak. The synopsis is not pretty.
Notes From Our Neighbors, the Really Noisy Blue Planet One Spot Closer to the Sun
by Debi Ann Durst nee Dutch 13
- In many ways, Earth's inhabitants are like children. They pee in their water supply, then wonder where all the fish are disappearing to.
- Still wage war with each other based on which 2,000 year old guy's teachings of peace should be followed.
- Drive giant fuel gulping Sport Utility Vehicles that curiously do not come equipped with turn signals.
- Refer to our planet as Mars, after an ancient God of War. What's up with that? One of those pot with the kettle and the color black deals (will explain later.) We also share this name with an extremely tasty candy bar.
- They eat other animals! I found the fried sliced pig belly to be exceptionally scrumptious. See recipe book, "Cooking with Bacon."
- The winner of most Earthbound quarrels is not the person with the more persuasive argument, but he who expresses his position the loudest.
- For some reason, Earthling leaders are not required to tell their people the truth. Do not let knowledge of this ghastly practice leak up to our governing officers. Kidding. Its a joke. A human trait whereby a person says one thing while meaning another. Again, like our leaders.
- At the rate they're poking holes in their ozone, they'll be looking to colonize some other poor planet within a couple of weeks. Keep those canals covered.
- One last note: they have an excellently refreshing adult amber beverage called beer. Bringing home samples.
Will Durst hopes his only reward is her imminent return.