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What do you eat after you smash subatomic particles together? Apparently, you eat matzos, chips and pizza…

I have been on a bit of a documentary-watching kick lately. I guess it must just be my remarkable thirst for knowledge. Anyway, recently I watched an amazing documentary series called Miracle Planet. The first episode in the series is all about how, early in the Solar System’s history, meteorites and other stuff (technical term) that were floating around would hit the Earth. I guess for a while after the formation of our little spot in the universe things were pretty messy. Trust me when I tell you that you should be really grateful that we weren’t around back then, because here is what scientists think happened:

A gigantic meteor crashed into the Earth. The radiation from the explosion on impact turned Earth into a fireball and vaporized all of the water on the planet (no shit). The Earth’s surface burned for a while, but gravity kept all of the water in the atmosphere instead of allowing it to float off into space. Although now I am wondering if some of it didn’t escape and boogie on over to Mars, but that is my own theory and – for those of you who don’t know me personally – I have a lot of theories that aren’t substantiated by science which I cling to nonetheless. So there, that’s where the water on Mars came from. Tell your friends.

But I digress. The Earth burned for a while, then after about 1000 years, the planet cooled and the atmosphere released its water and it rained for 100 years and refilled the oceans (again, no shit). So this has caused scientists to question if life could have survived such an environment.

Up until now I was on board. I was totally engrossed in this story of “Earth, the Early Years.” Here’s where the rant starts.

A bunch of scientists are working to figure out how life could have survived Fireball Earth. The theory is that some of the life that was on Earth must have survived or else where would we have come from? Life must have started when the planet formed, right? I find it a bit amusing how hung up everyone gets on the idea that life could just appear at some point, because that might imply there is a God and that would just blow everyone’s minds.  

But the efforts to prove there is no God wasn’t the part that annoyed me.

So the researchers determined that while the surface of the Earth was burning like the fiery pits of hell, and the core of the Earth was all hot and liquidy because it is the fiery pits of hell, there was this space in the middle where it was friggin’ hot but not so hot that nothing could live. Something could live. The theory is that some single-celled organisms that thrive in hot environments were able to sneak down below the surface and wait out the fire; let’s call them Hot Amoebas. And we descended from them.

First of all, there is no way I descended from any life form that likes to live at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. I start sweating at 50 degrees, so I question the theory on those grounds alone. But more importantly – who gives a crap?! I’m all for scientific research and understanding life and all of that other learning stuff, but I am still not clear about how we benefit from figuring out that those Hot Amoebas are our great-great-great (add a million greats) grandmas. How about a little faith people? At some point, life started. There. Don’t know where, don’t know how. But what do you say that we forget – just for a little while – about pinpointing the moment life started so we can focus our resources and energy on cleaning up the shit-storm we have on our hands right now?! How about we divert the funding for that Hot Amoeba research into something important, like building a gigantic underground city so the next time a meteor turns the Earth into a fireball we can make sure that all of the rich and famous people will survive while the rest of us spontaneously combust?

But the money spent on useless research wasn’t the part that annoyed me.

The Hot Ameoba research is led by this South African scientist. She decides that the best way to access this middle ground between too hot and just sort of hot is through the diamond mines. Off they go, as the narrator comments on the methane gas that leaks into the shafts of the mines, adding that it is really unsafe to be there and it is amazing the research team is even willing to go on such a dangerous quest. He doesn’t say shit about the ten or so manual laborers they pass on the way, who are down there working every day just so all of us can have the bling we need to make our friends and neighbors jealous.  

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: It pained me to use the term “bling” but there was no way around it in this case. I needed to show my sarcasm more clearly and I am praying you picked up on it and don’t think I actually use the term “bling” in conversation. I promise you I don’t, in large part because I know that every time some suburban mom or dad says “bling”, there is a teenager in urban America laughing his ASS off. And rest assured, he is laughing at them, not with them.)

But the fact that people risk their lives for our jewelry wasn’t the part that annoyed me.

It’s really hot in those diamond mines. The temperature goes up 20 degrees or something every half mile down into the Earth. I sort of made that up from memory, but it’s directionally correct. Suffice it to say that it gets hotter as you go deeper. But Hot Amoebas don’t care. They love the heat. Bring it! The research team is combing the mining shafts for life forms, and suddenly, there it is! Slime on the rock wall! Green and red and white slime! There is life in the mining shafts!  That is, there is life in addition to the workers who go down there every day to work in appalling conditions so we can all wear diamond watches that make us feel more important than our friends.

Anyway…life! How exciting! Turns out, the sludge is actually a type of bacterium. And these bacteria can live in hot environments! And studying these subterranean bacteria will help us prove that life survived Fireball Earth! Hooray! Let’s BRING THE UNDERWORLD BACTERIA TO THE SURFACE AND STUDY THEM…

This is where I lost my mind. Does anyone else have a problem with this?! Just because you have a PhD and a bunch of published articles that less that1% of the world can understand does not mean you have common sense. LEAVE THE BACTERIA WHERE YOU FOUND THEM! All I could think about is how, 20 years from now, when half the planet has perished with Hot Amoeba Bacterial Infection, we’re all going to be like “Gee, maybe we should have left well enough alone.” It’s called the Law of Unintended Consequences. In all of the excitement to get some kind of Nobel Prize, even smart scientist-types can forget to consider the impact of a decision plus the impact of the impact plus the impact of that impact, and so on. So human nature dictates that a well-meaning person might not think twice about bringing KILLER BACTERIA to the surface of the Earth, where some hungover lab tech can accidentally knock over a test-tube of it so then it can eat us all, and nothing would be able to destroy it because it is super-strong because it survived a FIREBALL, for Christ’s sake! Speaking of him, I am sure Jesus would be like “The answers to the mysteries of life are within you. PUT THE BACTERIA DOWN!”

In fairness to the researchers, I am not sure what happened next because a short while later I fell asleep. Did I mention that I watch documentaries because the soothing narration is perfect for inducing naps? And, I have that thirst for knowledge I mentioned earlier. Anyway, I think the stress of knowing that our days are numbered – because there is no way that washing your hands with hot water and soap kills underworld bacteria – made me so emotionally drained, I actually passed out. Yeah, that was it.

About Me

The purpose of this blog is purely self-expression - being creative for the sake of being creative. It has evolved into a collection of non-fiction essays.

All of the anecdotes and incidents you read in this blog are completely true and not exaggerated, no matter how sad, pathetic or unbelievable they may seem.

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