Advance obituary for Planet Earth

Planet Earth, with its blue oceans, white clouds and land masses of other colors, was home to millions of species, including the one that invented Cheez Doodles.
Planet Earth, with its blue oceans, white clouds and land masses of other colors, was home to millions of species, including the one that invented Cheez Doodles. (NASA)
Posted: December 21, 2012

If planet Earth does perish in the next day or two nobody will be around to read the obit.

So here's one written in advance, for fans of nostalgia, mortality or history.

Just in case imaginative misreadings of Mayan calendars prove true.

The Earth, 4.5 Billion B.C.-December 2012

The Earth, a good but often underappreciated planet, suddenly disappeared from the cosmos [date goes here].

Whether its death was a case of suicide, homicide, natural causes, the installation of an intergalactic superhighway, or an act of preemptive alien pest control remains to be determined by who knows who from who knows where.

Or not.

Trillions of lifeforms belonging to millions of species, most of them beetles, thrived on its land masses or in its oceans over the last 3.5 billion years, enjoying its abundant supplies of water, oxygen, carbon-dioxide, sunlight, and surviving by consuming each other in merciless food chains.

Before life appeared, the "3rd Rock From the Sun," as the world was dubbed in an electromagnetic-wave- communicated documentary series about alien visitors, was pretty much a hot rock, still convalescing and coalescing from a rude sideswiping by a smaller planet that spawned a natural satellite known as the Moon.

Among Earth's most notable lifeforms and quasi-lifeforms:

Viruses - Teeny biochemical contraptions that could slay even the fiercest beasts.

Worms - Think riding a bicycle without using arms or legs is difficult? Trying being a creature that moves without them and doesn't have eyeballs to see where it's going.

The tyrannosaurus Rex - A colossal scaly or feathery predator capable of running after animals and biting their heads off.

Koalas - Lazy critters that were just too cute. They will be missed.

Air plants - Vegetables zombies! No roots, and yet still alive! Weird.

Flowers and bees - Once-living proof that species could cooperate to help each other survive, not just bite, claw and eat each other. Mysterious codependency involved sex-related powders turned into sticky sugary stuff especially good in tea.

Cockroaches - Beautiful exoskeletal creatures rightfully thought to be impervious to extinction, since a troupe hitchhiked aboard a combustion-propelled device to Mars, where they are busily populating that once lifeless world.

Dogs - Pack predators with unparalleled genetic ability to come in all shapes, sizes, colors and attitudes, and yet still interbreed, inspiring a wealth of funny names, such as " cockapoo."

Homo sapiens - If any member of this fur-impaired two-legged species were still alive, it would no doubt take offense at being so far down on the list, which is not exactly in chronological order. Although it often exhibited an exceptional capacity for intelligence (it was the only species Earth produced capable of reading this obit), the human race often failed to use it, falling for extra bacon as a popular inducement to clog the amazing muscle known as the heart, maiming and killing each other over trivial differences no dog would ever take offense to, cats excepted, and creating legends to justify a hyperinflated sense of species superiority.

"Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to," observed a male of the species with a hairy upper lip.

"What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god," exulted a nutty fictional power inheritor, who then dismissively labeled his species "this quintessence of dust."

How prophetic.

When the autopsy arrives, odds are good human beings will be blamed for their own extinction.

Then again, it could have just been some freak cracking open of the Earth, with volcanoes suddenly belching such copious volumes of volatile gas that lightning made the whole thing go poof, like a lit cigar in an overly ripe outhouse.

The Earth is survived by its cousins Mercury, a lifeless rock; Venus, a toxic oven; and Mars, home of a million cockroaches; uncles Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, four whopping balls of gas, some with pretty rings; and their blessed mother, the Sun, which is due to go supernova in another 5 billion years and turn all the planets into toast.

It's not like the Earth was going to last forever anyway.

No services will be held.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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