Have you noticed how time seems to be going faster and faster? I went to bed last week as a promising 32-year-old and when I woke up I was missing my hair, I had an appointment for a colonoscopy and K-Mac was flipping through a brochure for gluten-free tombstones.
“Where did the time go?” I said in shock.
“The big hand went around the little hand,” K-Mac replied glibly.
“And you just sat there and let it?”
(I always try to blame everything I can on K-Mac. She, however, refuses to laugh at any of my jokes unless I take back every false accusation I have made that day, hour, minute or fraction thereof. She leaves me no choice but to shift the full blame for everything to society.)
So I went down to the convention center to guilt the Cosmic Federation of Cosmologists into supporting my two-pronged strategy for reigning in time. The first prong would put limits on the speed of light and equip police with rocket-powered patrol cars so they can pull over scofflaw lightning bolts. The second prong would make it illegal for time to fly, especially when anyone was having fun.
By accident, I walked into the room where the Cosmetic Federation of Cosmetologists was holding its annual Lipstick-on-a-Pig workshop.
I realized my mistake when a woman who looked like Johnny Depp impersonating a cow with too much hoof and mouth mascara, started talking about putting the spring and bounce back into sagging body parts. I found the discussion mesmerizing until someone in the back rudely oinked “What about Lip Plumpers?”
I rushed next door to where the astronomers were talking gobbledygook about their recent discovery of hundreds of new galaxies. You probably saw the headline on The Daily Beast that said “Scientists Find 854 Invisible Galaxies.”*
Not being a scientist myself, the first ignorant thought that came to mind was “What, did they have a seeing eye dog with a telescope?”
Turns out, the astronomers who saw the invisible galaxies were using that fancy new Subaru telescope made by the Japanese. (Apparently, the Toyota telescope was recalled when the airbag in the backseat started shouting things like “Make sure you take off the lens cap, Lenny” and “Lenny, stop looking at those naked women in Paris.”)
FYI: I went out on the deck a few nights later with a six pack of Utica Club and a telescope made from the cardboard tube in a roll of paper towels. By beer number three, I had discovered 1,509 invisible galaxies, plus an entire invisible alien rugby team eating their dead on the side of a road on the invisible planet Elmo.
At the convention center I learned that all those new galaxies aren’t actually invisible. More like hidden. They’re what scientists call “ultra diffuse galaxies,” meaning they “have very little gas” which makes them hard to spot with the naked astronomer.
Easy to confuse an invisible galaxy with one that is hidden. Let’s say you’re a small galaxy. You don’t have much gas because you swallowed a Milky Way-sized Beano tablet. You’re playing hide and seek with Pluto and, because Pluto is such a dope, you cleverly hide in plain sight. But you close your eyes so nobody, especially sixteen clowns in a Subaru, can see you.
The hard to avoid implication is that galaxies gassed up and ready to let rip, are essentially pull-my-finger night club acts. Makes me wonder about those citizens back in the Dark Ages who claimed the earth was flat. Maybe they were just saying earth was flatulent. And not just during Lent.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2015, all rights reserved.