Monday, March 19, 2007


Last night, while indulging in my latest craving--dark chocolate dipped potato chips--I watched a show on the history channel called "Final Days on Earth." Fascinating in a depressing, apocalyptic kind of way, but the countdown investigated all of the catastrophic events that could lead to the end of life on our planet. Number four: an asteroid colliding with the planet.

The most thought-provoking moments in the documentary involved real people articulating how they'd spend their final days knowing the equivalent of the impact that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs hurtled toward them.

In the year 2029, an already-name asteroid will enter the Earth's orbit, narrowly missing an impact with the planet's surface. Seven years later, ironically on the same April 13th date, that asteroid will collide with the Earth with devastating effects. The number of world scientists working on ways to avert this collision? No more than could fit in an elevator.

If scientists are unable to find a way to divert the first orbit path, the planet's civilizations will have missed the window to stop the impact. People would know definitively they had seven years left on Earth. Some might use the time to burrow underground--construct massive subterrainian communities to try to preserve some form of human life. Some would keep their families close at hand and seek out an understanding and belief of what would follow the end. Others might embrace it, party, live to the limits without heeding the law. A total breakdown of the structure of society--the final days plunged into looting and chaos.

I, myself, have infinite hope, but it does beg the question. How would you spend the next seven years knowing they were your last?


Sandra Ferguson said...

Hey cool, you found the letter code. Care to share where?

As for final days . . . you always ask these deep, introspective questions I have to think about . . . this is me thinking . . . I'd hope to be like our friend, Mary. Living life with her husband, making memories, enjoying the moments. Since I believe in the hereafter, I wouldn't worry over the after-effects, but those last chaotic months leading to the inevitable.

Folks would still die in car crashes and from cancer or in war, would those deaths seem meaningless as the end of the world approached? Or a release from the terrible threat hanging over mankinds head?

I've never thought of it before, but do you suppose living with a terminal disease feels like the asteroid-collision scenerio? It can't be stopped, it's inevitable, and all you can do is watch it grow larger. Interesting insight for developing a character who's suffering a terminal disease or a character who's lived through this moment with a loved one.

Shannon Canard said...

What?! Potato chips dipped in chocolate. Is that good?

Shannon Canard said...

OK, I read the rest of your post -- I stalled out at first over the chocolate dipped chips -- and the sad conclusion I came to, or maybe not so sad, really, is that I would probably spend the remaining years exactly as I'm living them now. With the exception, perhaps, of moving to NYC. I wanted to do it post college, but for stupid reasons I won't go into, stayed in Texas.

L.A. Mitchell said...

I know, it sounds gross. The chips are, most likely, pringles. Mostly what you taste is the thick layer of dark chocolate. The chip is more like a crunchy layer with little taste--sort of like a thin Kit Kat. They were a gift from someone who'd travelled through Oklahoma--apparently there's a candy business on the reservation they went to that specializes in fine chocolates. Go figure.