Three coincidences led to my writing this geek satire: 1) my son Paul got me a book about the for Christmas; 2) Valentine's Day looms; 3) SportsTalk Radio keeps advertising star registry to listeners who somehow missed out on buying the Brooklyn Bridge. I hope you enjoy.
My dearest Marjorie,
I have exciting news for you! Do you remember the radio advertisement that promises to register a star from a nearby galaxy in your own name? Yes, a star can be renamed “Marjorie” in your honor. Well no, that is not the good news, because the registry company behind that advertisement wants $19.95 plus tax for the service, and you know I do not have that kind of money. Besides, how Pennsylvania has the cujones to charge tax for an extraterrestrial service is beyond me. It is not as though Andromeda had established a corporate office in Pennsylvania, but, oh well, you know what they say about death and taxes.
The actual good news is I have arranged to name a Kuiper Belt Object after you! That’s right, say goodbye to old KBO:D07-819934-6, and say hello to Marj-D6! The best news is the “nominal reconfiguration,” as I call it, cost only 38 cents (plus a stamp, of course). I wrote to NASA’s public relations office, you see, enclosed 38 cents in coin to vouch for the sincerity of my petition, and asked if a proposed renaming were possible. After a silence of three weeks, I took their lack of objection for consent, and now we proudly have Marj-D6, Personal Kuiper Belt Object to magnify your aura.
It is not all jubilation, however. Because of the great distance of your eponymous object, no one is able to tell whether Marjor-D6 is an actual rock, as we hope, or merely a speck of dust surrounded by a trail of frozen methane. It would be unfortunate if a stray jet of solar wind were to intersect the path of your personal Kuiper Belt Object and vaporize the poor thing into a mere speck plus some smelly gas.
You might think that it would be a lot easier to name a rock from, say, New Jersey than a boulder from outer space, but no, all the rocks in New Jersey seem to be owned by someone else, even if most of them are not actually named. Of course, we are free to name any rock in our own back garden after you or after anyone else we liked, but you must admit it is much more glamorous to be able to refer to "Marj-D6, the Rock/Methane Ball Kuiper Belt Object" than "Marjorie, the Rock from Our Back Garden."
As ever, your Edwin.
Al Them's book Ghost Stories and Other Tales of Lansdowne can be found on Amazon.com