CONTACT, AS IN SPACE, NOT PAPER

(Note From Your Cap’n: this post is dedicated to my buddy Ms. Angel, who I work with at Publix, a hard worker, a fine and decent lady and a cutie to boot…this one is for you, sweetie.) 

Today we’re going to talk about Earth, spelled with a capital “E” when using the word to refer to the planet; it is not capitalized when using the word to refer to dirt, and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to bring the President into this conversation, thank you.

Planet Earth, as we all know, is the third planet from our Sun, which is a minor star that lies close to the rim of the Milky Way (that’s the galaxy, not the candy bar) in the Orion Arm. It is not known whether or not Orion has legs as well, but for the sake of this essay, it will be assumed, otherwise how could it walk, run and wear pantyhose, one of man’s most ubiquitous and consternating inventions?

(And lemme’ tell you, I think I should get points of using the words “ubiquitous” and “consternating” in the same sentence…please be impressed.)

A little info to give you some perspective on the Earth’s relationship to the Sun, the solar system, the other stars and the universe. First, we must consider the measurement of velocity referred to as the “speed of light”…

Light waves travel in a vacuum at approximately 186,000 MPH, which is visual; as a referent, sound waves (aural) travel at a mere 741 MPH and that stench coming from Washington (olfactory) is moving WAY faster than most of us ever imagined it could.

A light year, the measurement used to determine distances in space, is thus…

The speed of light x 60 seconds in a minute x 60 minutes in an hour x 24 hours in a day x 365 days (approximate) in a year, or 186,000 x 60 x 60 x 24 x 365 = 5,865,696,000,000 miles in a year, or about the speed I was moving at when Old Man Adams came out from behind his garage and almost caught my friend Jimmy Walker and I soaping his windows on Halloween night, back when I was 11. (Every time one of us hit/threw a ball into his yard he’d come out of his house and take it…the following year after almost being caught we tried the old “shit in a bag, put the bag on the front porch, set it on fire, ring the doorbell and run at the speed of light” routine on him. Sadly, the old fart didn’t stamp it out with his foot as we had hoped, but went in the house, returned with a glass of water and put out the fire…it still had to be disgusting to clean up.)

The closest star to our Sun and to Earth in our galaxy is in the Alpha Centauri system, Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, which form a binary pair and are 4.3 light years distant. Using the above measurement for a “light year”, that equates to these stars being 25,222,492,800,000 miles away; FYI, that’s trillion, and further FYI, the next unit of measurement after “trillion” is “umptyfuckingbazillion”, which we will be using soon to refer to the national debt under the “let’s shrink government spending” Republicans in our Congress.

Our solar system is part of the Milky Way galaxy, which contains somewhere between 200 and 400 billion stars, and is estimated to contain at least 100 billion planets. (The term “Milky Way” comes from the Latin “via lactea”, or “milky circle”, and since I promised to stop making obnoxious references to women’s breasts, I think you guys should be proud of me for keeping the dumb joke I would usually make here to myself.)

To extrapolate further, you must use a “loofah”…excuse me, that’s exfoliate, sorry.

Begin again…There are approximately 100 billion galaxies like our Milky Way in the Universe (and with that many galaxies I figured that’s a word that ought to be capitalized). If we assume the existence of 100 billion planets in our galaxy, then we can further assume that there are 10 x 18th power, or 10 QUINTILLION planets, give or take a few bajillion, in the Universe.

Given each planet’s proximity to its star, or Sun, the atmosphere of said planet, the age of the planet and other factors, such as the duration of the cubic zirconium and the radius of the torrential nebulae, most scientists, evil fucks that they are, would probably agree that there is in the vicinity of 6% of those planets that would sustain “life” as we recognize it, said life not to encompass any beings as obnoxious as that repulsive Mitch McConnell, or a potential 60 trillion planets that could sustain some type of life form. (Actually, most scientists would probably say the number of potential life-sustaining planets is considerably less than that, but I was on a roll.)

I believe it safe to say that at least a few of these potential life-sustaining planets are inhabited with some kind of sentient creatures, possibly akin to the Iguana people of the planet Zatox, or brainless oxygen suckers like Kardashians, from the planet SelfImportant. (FYI again, “Kardashian” is Armenian for “llama mucus”). In any event, given the above numbers, in the final analysis, most likely Man on Earth is not alone in the vastness of the Universe.

My point? We exist in a immense, veritable ocean of stars and planets, so deep and vast and measured in numbers so unbelievably huge as to defy comprehension, all surrounded by the bleak nothingness of space, which could be a good description of the span between our President’s ears, and yet, with all these stars, all these planets, all these systems and all these potential life-forms, we still find ourselves getting pissed off at the asshole in front of us with 15 items in the 10 Items Or Less Express Lane.

Just a little perspective, mateys; some things just aren’t worth the hassle…we are small cogs in a VERY, VERY vast wheel, not insignificant by any means, and most certainly unique, but minuscule in scope nonetheless.

Well, except for President Tweety Bird, who is WAY more significant in the Universal scope of things than the rest of us…just ask him.

See what comes from being a part-time Front Service Clerk (a grandiose corporate name for a “grocery bagger”) in a Publix grocery store?

Love and space stations,

Cap’n John

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