Friday, February 15, 2008

"The Sky Is Falling!" said Chicken Little

The U.S. Pentagon announced that it is going to try and shoot down a dying spy satellite that's on a collision course with the Earth.

Interesting...where have I heard this story-line before?

Aside from Chicken Little (the children's story--here's one version of it--and not the 2005 movie), the oldies among you (that would be those slightly younger than me and older) would remember Skylab. That U.S. space station's demise became an international media event. I remember all the newspapers of the day carrying images of Skylab's path, estimating where it would fall. The Philippines was a probable landing spot, and each morning I would check the papers to read the latest updates. The adults became like the Gauls in Goscinny and Uderzo's famed comics: they were afraid of the sky falling on their heads. Only kids like me were hoping it would hit Manila, because it would mean no school. The lab eventually fell in Australia, and one municipality there fined the U.S. $400.00 for littering. In an inspired bit of showmanship, the Miss Universe pageant, which was held in Perth a few days later, displayed a large piece of Skylab debris on the stage. In typical Pinoy fashion, I remember everyone cracking jokes while looking nervously up at the sky. I'm sure there are lot of Pinoy Skylab jokes preserved somewhere (alongside other memories of the time, like Student Canteen, Discorama, Bazooka Joe, and Seeing Stars with Joe Q). Grah! I'm old, I'm old!

But there, you see? It's an old story-line come back to haunt us in the present. It's just been tweaked a little, 'coz now the space station is gonna' be shot down. What's the name of the guy who first said that there are no new stories anymore?


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