Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side. Lou Reed left us with that bit of wisdom before he checked out in 2013. If you feel that 2020 has followed Lou Reed’s advice, you pass Go and collect $200. This year has the Rona, stock market vertigo, mass unemployment, political masks, and the late great Presidential election. If 2020 were a TV character it would be George Costanza in the scene where he is trying to convince his date he is a troubled soul so she will sleep with him. George tells her: “I’m disturbed. I’m depressed. I’m inadequate. I’ve got it all.” 2020 has got it all. As Larry David would say, you might think things were pretty, pretty bad. But it could be worse. It can always be worse. Never, ever under any circumstances say: “Things can’t get worse.”
Right now if you are reading this drivel, you are on the planet Earth. Despite some short comings here and there; plague, famine, wars, and mischief caused by the thirty-eight Horsemen of the Apocalypse, things could be worse. You could be on the newly discovered Hell Planet K2-141b. The astronomer buddies of K2-141b just call it K2 so we will too. Thank goodness for schadenfreude. I am comforted by the knowledge there is a planet where things are much worse than they are on Earth. It is a character flaw on the part of your writer to enjoy the misery of another planet but that’s life.
Right now you are probably asking yourself, “Self, what is wrong with K2? Should I be adding it to my list of things that wake me up at 3:00 a.m.?” Take a little interstellar voyage on the Starship Peabody to visit K2. Pack a lunch as it is hundreds of light years from Earth. K2 is what the scientists at the Royal Astronomical Society call a Lava Planet. That does not mean it is composed of Lava, the Hand Soap made with pumice that comes in the bright red package. No Sirree, Bob. K2 has oceans made of molten lava. The same kind of lava that comes out of volcanoes in Hawaii into which virgins are thrown to appease the Gods to insure a good cocoanut crop. K2 has the kind of toasty lava that makes the pizza burn on the top of your mouth from an oven fresh pepperoni pizza look like child’s play.
K2 is consistent. Its ocean, atmosphere, and continents are all made out of rocks. When it rains on K2, it rains rocks not violets. It’s so hot there when the lava ocean evaporates and the residue cools off in the atmosphere it rains back down as rocks. Singing in the rain would not be too much fun on K2. Gene Kelly could not sing many lyrics before he would be pounded into mush by the rhythm of the falling rain. K2 is a bit breezy with winds blowing over 3000 miles an hour. If there are any answers blowing in the wind on K2, not even Bob Dylan could find them. Like Earth’s moon, the orbit of K2 only allows one side of K2 to face its sun. The sunny side of K2 is about 5400 degrees Fahrenheit. The always dark side of K2, with apologies to Pink Floyd is minus 328 degrees.
Fortunately, Earth’s rock and roll super stars have been trying to warn us about K2 for many years. It is no coincidence that such singers as David Bowie and Elton John would know about a planet where it rains rocks. After all they are rock stars.
David Bowie warned us about K2 way back in 1969 in his song Space Oddity. Gentle Reader, be warned. If you were Major Tom and Ground Control choose you to visit K2, you have lost the space lottery. Somebody in the upper echelons of NASA does not like you. Once you got close enough to be caught in K2’s rock rain bad things would happen. “Ground Control to Major Tom/ Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong/ Can you hear me Major Tom? / Can you hear me Major Tom?” At that point Earth with all its faults would look pretty good.
Elton John also tried to warn us about K2 in his song Rocket Man. Elton gets all space suited up and does his pre-flight rituals. In his heart he knows something isn’t right about the mission. Supposedly he is going to Mars, but like the book of Revelations, the song is in code. He is not singing about Mars. He is singing about going to K2. He is “the rocket man burning out his fuse up here all alone/ Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids/ In fact it’s cold as Hell/ And there is no one there to raise them if you did/ And all this science I don’t understand/ It’s just my job five days a week./” Because this song is in code, when Elton sings about Mars being cold he is really talking about K2 being hot. You have to read between the lines. It’s a secret message from the Illuminati.
So, what have we learned today? Once again, almost nothing. I apologize for wasting your time on our literary celestial trip. But know this, Grasshopper, things on Earth are not nearly as dire as they are on K2. We have our own Little Rocket Man in North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un. He is bad enough, while he does have nuclear weapons, but he has not yet mastered turning the ocean into a sea of fire even though he frequently threatens to do so.
Put on a happy face. It’s not going to be 3400 degrees tomorrow. Like Little Orphan Annie says, “The sun will come out tomorrow.” Happy Thanksgiving to us one and all.