BETWEEN A ROCK AND HARD PLACE
PLUTO: What do you mean you’re revoking my planetary status?
BIG ROCK: Sorry, but effective immediately you’re a dwarf planet.
DWARF PLANET FORMERLY KNOWN AS PLUTO: A dwarf planet? What the heck is that?
BIG ROCK: No need for foul language. Dwarf planet’s a euphemism; it’s a nice way of saying Ice Ball.
DWARF: Who the hell are you to decide I’m not a planet?
BIG ROCK: I didn’t. I’m just delivering a message as Speaker of the House of Heavenly Bodies.
DWARF: Never heard of it. I don’t have to take this crap.
BIG ROCK: Take it you will, Ice Ball. Mass matters out here in the big bad Universe, and the Big Balls no longer consider you a planet.
DWARF: Why in the Solar System does anyone give a damn whether I’m a planet or not?
BIG ROCK: Frankly, we’ve had some complaints.
DWARF: Complaints? From who? For what?
BIG ROCK: (A bit annoyed) Some objects in the Kuiper Belt, that’s who. Because you’re too small, that’s what.
DWARF: It’s Eris, isn’t it? That bitch!
BIG ROCK: More important though, inhabitants of Planet Earth lodged a formal complaint.
DWARF: Earthings! How can that be? They named a Disney character for me, for crying out loud. I know they prefer me to Uranus. What an asshole!
BIG ROCK: He’s an asshole alright, but he’s a big asshole. It’s the big part that matters.
DWARF: I refuse to believe Earthlings want to declassify me. What about all the schoolchildren who memorized that pneumonic: My Very Excited Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. Makes no sense without me. Nine what? I’m the most important planet in that sentence! You could eliminate Mercury, Venus, Earth, Uranus, and Neptune and still have a perfectly acceptable sentence: Subject-Verb-Object. I’m only one of three planets with an element named after it. Are you going to change the Periodic Table too? What are you going to call the 94th element, Dwarfium?
BIG ROCK: I don’t have any say over changes to the Periodic Table. We focus on big picture stuff. The really small things we leave in the able hands of the Quantum Mechanics. Dwarfium has a nice ring to it though.
DWARF: There’s no freaking way Earthlings filed this complaint.
BIG ROCK: Admittedly, it’s a small group of Earthlings.
DWARF: How small?
BIG ROCK: #$%@&*$@*&@%@*&@%
DWARF: I can’t hear you; too much interference.
BIG ROCK: Can you hear me now?
DWARF: Yes, I can hear you now.
BIG ROCK: Must have been one of those damn solar flares; I always get bad coverage here. If you don’t have any more questions, I’ll be on my orbit.
DWARF: You’re avoiding my question. Who is this group? How small?
BIG ROCK: It’s not their size that matters.
DWARF: No, no Big Ball. You just got through telling me that size is all that matters.
BIG ROCK: It’s not about the size of the group but the size of their brains: esteemed big-brained bipedal members of the International Astronomical Union (IAU): astronomers, astrophysicists, Ph.D. types.
DWARF: How many?
BIG ROCK: Let me see … 9,785 members, 2,411 registered to attend the assembly at which the vote was held, 424 attended … but not all voted.
DWARF: You’re telling me I’m no longer a planet because four hundred bastards out of six and a half billion made some noise! 99.999994% of Earthlings are not in favor of this. Nor are 95% of astronomers.
BIG ROCK: Just because they didn’t express concern doesn’t mean they don’t support it. You’re bastardizing formal logic there, Ice Ball.
DWARF: Screw that. I’ll bet you your atmosphere I can find a thousand times as many supporters of mine than you can find detractors.
BIG ROCK: As I said, it’s about the size of their brains.
DWARF: Is that so? This is the same group that somehow missed ninety percent of the mass of the Universe and then upon embarrassingly stumbling upon it, called it Dark Matter because they couldn’t see it! Exactly how big are these brains?
BIG ROCK: Now you’re just being vindictive.
DWARF: How did they convince you? Incriminating pictures of you with some young star?
BIG ROCK: This isn’t about me Ice Ball. You meet only two out of three criteria to be a planet. You orbit the Sun and you’re round. But you haven’t sufficiently cleared the neighborhood around your orbit.
DWARF: Haven’t cleaned my neighborhood! When did cleanliness become a planetary requirement?
BIG ROCK: Two out of three ain’t bad, but it also ain’t a planet.
DWARF: (Pensive) Come to think of it, Earth hasn’t cleared its orbit…
BIG ROCK: Don’t go there, Ice Ball. Do you know what would happen if we revoked Earth’s planetary status? There would be hell to pay. Remember the tizzy they worked themselves into when Earth was removed from the center of the Universe.
DWARF: This is a goddamn conspiracy.
BIG ROCK: You’re howling at your moons, Ice Ball.