It was good while it lasted, Pluto

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When it was finally announced that Pluto was no longer Joe Planet but a dwarf planet, I'm sure the International Astronomical Union had some kind of congratulatory party where they all patted themselves on the back for discovering such a monumental breakthrough in science.

And how can you blame them for wanting to celebrate? The last time something this exciting happened was when Pluto was discovered. I just feel a little bad for the poor thing. First, it was globally known as the smallest and most unpleasantly cold of the nine planets. Nobody wanted to visit it or even acknowledge such a distant hunk of rock, really. But in school, we made sure to write it down when asked what the nine planets were.

Had I actually filled in the blank with "dwarf planet," I would have been reprimanded with a lost recess and told that I should be more accepting of all planets, even if they are a little different.

What baffles me is that it took scientists nearly 80 years to decide this, arguing that its characteristics interfere with the status quo of our other planets.

Perhaps Mars or some other disgruntled planet sent an angry Speak Out to the IAU, describing Pluto's facade as "an embarrassment to the solar system."

Now that all the textbooks are outdated, we most certainly have to replace them. Our children can't be going around giving Pluto credit it doesn't even deserve! Although I must say that since Pluto has been exposed as a dwarf planet, we should continue this trend by declaring other items for what they really are.

For example, strip clubs will no longer be referred to as gentlemen's clubs.

The reasoning behind this is that men, upon entering what Southeast Missourians refer to as a slightly worse fate than purgatory, become as ungentlemanly as one might expect a man in purgatory to act.

The term "gentleman" should only be used to reference men who dress in tuxedos, drink brandies and smoke expensive cigars. Frank Sinatra. Humphrey Bogart. Dean Martin. All these cats were the gentlemen of their day.

Unfortunately, being a gentleman had its drawbacks -- bladder, throat and lung cancer, respectively.

I guess if we all started going around interpreting things for what we saw them as, life would get a little confusing. Like if someone mentioned the city's "Satan income," I wouldn't know if they were talking about profits made from tattoo parlors or the fast-food industry.

Oh, you may think fast food isn't so bad, but I'd bet the 1,000 pound man you saw on the Discovery Channel would much rather have a little ink on his skin.

To him, a double cheeseburger is the reincarnation of Beelzebub.

My point is that Pluto, as small and insignificant as it is, should be a part of our solar system. It should remain the humble piece of Styrofoam it always has been in our poorly made science projects. We just didn't know what we had until it was taken away from us.

So this one's for you, Pluto! May your further endeavors as a dwarf planet take you to a galaxy where dwarf planets reign. And if you see Sinatra up there anywhere, tell him I said hi.

Sam DeReign is a student at Southeast Missouri State University. Contact him at sdereign@semissourian.com.

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