Friday, August 25, 2006

No News Is Good News

Just as I’m about to get a handle on my creeping mold paranoia, someone sends me one of those phobia-producing email forwards reporting that two super black holes are on a collision course with one another, each with the capability of sucking up several universes, the latest model Hummer, and a bunch of new Wal-Marts.

I don’t have time to worry about such things, I have plenty to keep me busy, like squelching the dust bunny uprising that threatened to get completely out of control this past winter. It was touch and go there for a while. But I think I’ve rounded up the ringleader. He’s being detained for questioning.

No, I have lots to do besides pondering eventual doom. Why do scientists (and my well-meaning friends) think I need to know this stuff anyway? The experts report that such a cataclysmic event is not likely to happen for another bazillion years, so why get everyone all worked up?

They keep telling us scary stuff that we can’t do anything about and, personally, I’m tired of it. Here’s another one sure to keep me up nights. Seems the earth isn’t spinning as fast as it use to. Must be that extra 40 billion pounds of people it put on during the population explosion in the medieval era—you know, the Middle Ages spread. So the experts have decided to insert a leap second into the official atomic-based time standard every few years. Will there be a public notification of this, so we can change our clocks? Will the fashionably late finally be on time? Will my VCR stop flashing 8:08? See, information like this could make you crazy.
(See illustration above for atomic clock schematic courtesty Acme Atomics, LLC.)

Yes, I have more important things to do than fret about a stray second or two. Like obsessing over the tarantula living in my zucchini plants. Well, it certainly looks like a tarantula. Yes, I know tarantulas aren’t native to western New York, but we’ve all heard the banana stories. (I read about it in an email.) Some lazy customs worker didn’t inspect a couple crates of bananas from Honduras, Columbia or Dansville, one of those hot places, and let a family of hairy-legged arachnids slip into the country. I bet they wouldn’t have made it in if they’d had cream rinse or Nair in their luggage. But that’s another story.

So, unbeknownst, Boris the Spider and his familial unit get shipped to some local grocer and, naturally, take up residence, where else, in my garden. I have to admit there’s been a significant decrease in the number of Japanese beetles, small mammals, and neighborhood pets since he took up residence. But that doesn’t change the fact harvesting my vegetables has become an angst-ridden experiment in fear. These days you will find me literally beating the bushes before sticking my hand into the plants to pluck out the zukes.

And if that weren’t enough, I receive another email forward with the disturbing news that the next time I’m traveling down 390, the sound of the truck behind me may not be a Dodge Ram after all. It very likely could be an elephant. That’s right, according to a new study, it’s been determined that elephants are imitating the sounds of trucks. I don’t need to know this.

Yes, I have more important things to do.
So the next time I get an email forward, no matter how tempting the subject line may be (Lint Poisoning, Undetectable Killer),
I’m not opening it.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

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©g.Slater 2006
graphic courtesy Rewind the Fifties