A meteorite hit Russia. I was informed of this off-handedly by a sophomore as he entered English class today.
“Did you hear about it?” he asked.
I shook my head. Nope, hadn’t heard of it. But to be fair, even at 9:30, I’m still trying to up my caffeine in-take to shake myself clear of my morning stupor. I’m usually good by 10:00. (Yes, that’s 10:00 AM. I can hear my husband snickering in the background because he mocks my non-morning-person-ness constantly. Whatever. We all have short-comings. Let’s talk about the bathroom renovation, shall we? No? Okay, then let’s move on.)
So once class ended, I googled “Russia Meteorite” and found this picture:
So is it the end of the world? The Mayan debacle is still a little too fresh to start whipping out predictions, but there’s another meteor that is supposed to be a near-miss today, as well. The closest call the earth has had in, like, 2000 years. Though I’m not sure how they can gauge that since satellites did not exist in Biblical times—if they did that would put a whole new spin on the Wise Men following a star.
“No need for that anomalous star, Lord,” said Wise Man #1. “I’ll find your Son, no problem. I’ve got my GPS. Okay, Bethlehem. Found it. Saddle up your camels and head west, fellas!” (Gotta say, I like the original story better.)
While it is a bit horrifying (to me, at least) to see something from outer space smashing into the earth, I was even more shocked by the nonchalance of the 10th grader who informed me of the event. Over 1,000 people had to seek medical attention from the impact. And a 10th grader half-way across the world speaks of it as though it was the latest episode of “CSI: SVU” (or some other show high schoolers watch.)
And I think that just might be the problem. News blurs in with the rest of entertainment. And we forget that these are real people, experiencing real fear, facing real danger. Because the “realness” is so easy to forget, those of us unaffected then feel the freedom to:
- Point fingers--I bet George W. knew about this meteorite when he was in office and did nothing about that, too.
- Criticize--If Obama knew what he was doing he’d be building up NASA so that we could expand our awareness and protect ourselves from this type of thing.
- Laugh--Where’s oil-driller-turned-astronaut Bruce Willis when we need him?!
It’s just like the kid that falls down the stairs in front of the entire class. Everyone freezes for a moment. Then you have the kids who immediately start to laugh (gotta say, it’s tempting). You have those with righteous indignation pointing fingers at those around the kid who may or may not have tripped, pushed, shoved, and caused the fall. You have those clucking their tongues at the fallen kid as if he should have known better than to fall in the first place.
I want to be the person who first asks the fallen comrade:
“Are you hurt?”
“No. Just my pride.”
“Good.” I say, helping him to his feet. “Is it okay to laugh?”