Journal entry: August 31, 2006 (age 37)
Note: This week’s Lost Journal is the second in a two-part series discussing the recent decision by the International Astronomical Union to downgrade Pluto from a planet to a “dwarf planet.”
Rescinding the planetary status of Pluto has ramifications far beyond the scientific community. Schoolbooks will have to be rewritten. Teachers will have to revise the mnemonic devices they use to teach children the names of the planets. Science fair displays of the solar system will have to amputate a Nerf. But what’s done is done. As long as we’re rewriting the books to present a simplified view of our universe, I have a few suggestions for other revisions we should make while we’re at it:
- As many others have said over the years, there should only be six continents. Europe and Asia are one contiguous landmass, and should be counted as a single continent. The new name “Eurasia” leaps to mind, but in a threatening, Orwellian way – so I propose we call the merged continent “Ape.” As an added bonus, reducing the number of continents would reduce by 20 percent the amount of colored thread needed for mass-produced Olympic flags.
- There should only be two food groups: “Poison” and “Yeah, Go For It.”
- Twenty-six always struck me as an odd (yet strangely even) number of letters for an alphabet to have. Why don’t we bring ours up to an even 30? We could appease the growing and vocal minority of people who are “Hooked on Phonics” by promoting the schwa from a sound to a letter. Unification talks with Canada could be furthered by adding a letter to represent their guttural “eh?” We could emancipate the dot from the top of the letter i, and let it live its own life, dude. For the fourth and final letter, I propose that we give the space left by the space bar the name “gurg.” Each time a space is indicated in speech, the speaker would clear his or her throat.
- The four dimensions of length, width, height and time are indispensable constructs for understanding our world. But width makes us feel fat, so let’s get rid of it.
- The number pi should be incorporated into counting, between the numbers 3 and 4. Kids would learn their multiplication tables a lot quicker if they were fooled into thinking they were talking about pie. And without width to worry about, what’s wrong with multiplying pie?
- Our antiquated method of electing the president through the Byzantine workings of the Electoral College should be replaced. The red states should be absorbed into one, huge, conservative state called “The Bush.” The blue states should be absorbed into one, slightly less huge, liberal state called “The Whine Country.” Both states would then send a delegate to Regis Philbin’s house. Whoever stays the longest wins. That person would be given Kelly Ripa’s spot on America’s favorite morning television program. The loser would become the president.
Together we can simplify our world with this kind of semantic spring-cleaning. The dustbin of history has plenty of room, even with Pluto in there.