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Dear Planet Earth,
You ever buy Pluto a drink for old times sake?
I know it’s none of my business, but I’m curious just the same.
I mean, that big demotion 17 years ago was everyone’s business and I sure as hell hope you didn’t make fun of ol’ Pluto for being all “dwarf” or “minor.” A person wants their host planet to maintain certain standards, so I hope you supported him with kind words and behaved like the mature planet you are.
Are you mature? Four and a half billion years seems pretty mature to me, but years are funny things, particularly for us humans. When we’re little, say five years old, a year seems like a very very long time. After all, one year equals a fifth of that kid’s whole life. And the older we get, the faster the years seem to fly by, with each one representing a smaller and smaller percentage of our time here on … you.
Or does it?
I officially arrived back in 1965, but “arrived” is a strange designation. It wasn’t as if a packet of stuff, neatly wrapped in brown paper and string marked EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO GROW ONE COMPLETE FULL SIZE ERIN gently floated down from the heavens and onto my mom’s lap.
Mom ate potato salad and ham sandwiches (all of which came from you) and got busy with dad (also from you) and then ate more sandwiches and breathed the air (yours) and did a bunch of other stuff (on you) and eventually, I was born.
Each of us is a mysterious confluence of energy and matter. Put it all together and you get a collection of molecules that walks and talks. In my case, it’s called Erin O’Brien.
And Earth, while you surely understand this, plenty of peeps don’t seem to appreciate that every single one of their own molecules has been rinsed, reused, and recycled countless times. That goes for Joe Biden and Donald Trump and everyone in between. We never leave you. Each and every entity on your surface is a part of you. No exceptions. (Yeah, I know moon rocks are the exception, until they’re not.)
We humans have not been very considerate house guests and I suppose an apology is in order for our collective behavior, but I’m not sure where to begin. I don’t know how much attention you’re paying to our daily dramas. Maybe it’s a lot, or maybe you’re only now noticing us, seeing as we just got here when it comes to your timeline. Whatever the case, I’m sorry for all of it, from the endless bombs to the ubiquitous plastic.
The trouble were bringing upon ourselves these days, Earth, feels more virulent every minute. For the first time in my 58 years, I’m watching the horrifying news as my stomach constricts into a familiar knot, but that wild-eyed unmitigated hate I thought was reserved for zealots in places far and away feels … closer, and more prevalent than ever.
I imagine you’re smiling in a sad way right now at my naiveté. “places far and away” and America and my backyard are all the exact same locale: Planet Earth.
There’s this old song about a bunch of people going to a rock concert about a million years ago (not really a million—that’s just a saying, but you get the picture).
We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
back to the garden
Oh, we’ll get back to the garden all right, but I’m not sure it will be the way Joni Mitchell imagined.
Earth, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t read this. I know you’re sick of humans. You’ve given us everything we have except the one thing we need to survive: the wisdom to stop using your resources to kill one another.
Will there ever be another life form similar to us roaming around your mountains and prairies? Will it rise from our ashes in a billion years? I don’t know how I feel about that, Earth, but if you do get more peeps (or whatever they’re going to be), I hope they’re nicer than us.
ps: As for Pluto, maybe you and the other planets ought to have him over for a night of penny poker.
pps: You ever get jealous of Saturn’s rings?
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