The threat of meteors devastating the Earth is so real that scientists at the recent Planetary Defense Conference in Washington, D.C. didn’t once giggle every time they said “Uranus.”
To punctuate the dangers from space, attendees were presented a realistic exercise of a potential strike to a populated area by an asteroid, which is a meteor with a learner’s permit.
The circle of destruction would be immense. Cities leveled. Communities destroyed. Even those living half a world away would be affected, disturbed by what might sound like raccoons in the trash cans.
In response, Congress hastily convened an investigative subcommittee charged with overseeing science-based defense plans, locating nearby meteors larger than a Ford Fiesta, then issuing them subpoenas.
Recently coming to light are secret transcripts from a closed-door meeting of that committee. An angry White House has denied the authenticity of the recordings, the mission of the subcommittee, the existence of meteors, asteroids, the Earth, electricity, long division, and Washington, D.C.
SENATOR 1: “Good morning. (Tapping microphone) Is this on?”
AIDE: “Yes, sir!”
SENATOR 1: “Why is this on.”
AIDE: “Um…the bylaws—”
SENATOR 1: “Yes, yes, alright! Let’s just move on. Now director, before our break you said it was possible that a meteor could strike a major US city? Do you know which one?”
SCIENCE DIRECTOR: “No, sir. That’s difficult to predict.”
SENATOR 1: “Even using your ‘long division’? I see. But if you did know which city, would there be enough time to redistrict the area?”
DIRECTOR: “I don’t understand, Senator.”
SENATOR 1: “Are meteors gerrymandering?”
DIRECTOR: “That’s not… They don’t—”
SENATOR 1: “Yes or no please, sir!
DIRECTOR: “Senator, a meteor is a chunk of matter that glows from heating as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere.”
SENATOR 1: “I see…I see. And what percentage of meteors – 10? 50? 75? – are space pirates?”
DIRECTOR: “You what, now?”
SENATOR 1: “Could meteors be disguised space pirates? Are pirates perhaps hiding behind asteroids? Could Hoth be their secret base?”
DIRECTOR: “Are we role-playing? I think we’re role-playing?”
SENATOR 1: “I’m deadly serious, director. Now, how effective would a Space Force be in deterring these meteor pirates?”
DIRECTOR: “Could I have some more water, please?”
SENATOR 2: “Senator, if I might amplify. Director, in your professional opinion. Our Space Force: Would their uniforms be…cool?”
DIRECTOR: (Sighs) “Why not?”
SENATOR 2: “Like blue with gold stars. And maybe a lightning bolt?”
DIRECTOR: “You bet!”
SENATOR 2: “Oh, and a unicorn.”
SENATOR 1: “Very strategic, Senator. Director, would you see to ordering 250,000 such uniforms?”
SENATOR 2: “And one for my granddaughter!”
DIRECTOR: “Senators, who’s going to pay for all this?”
All Senators: “Mexico!”
Dave Jaffe writes the national award-winning humor blog Sleeping between Giants: Life, if you could call it that, with a Terrier