A Brief Conversation with the Planet Pluto

From the Website The Brunching Shuttlecocks– November 1997

A Brief Conversation with the Planet Pluto

By David Neilsen

A few days ago, The Planet Pluto slipped outside the orbit of Neptune to once again become the furthest planet from the sun in the solar system. The Brunching Shuttlecocks caught up with the distant planet to discuss this and other recent events in this lonely planet’s life.

Brunching Shuttlecocks: Pluto, thank you for joining us, I know how busy you are.

Pluto: Well, I am a planet after all.

Brunching Shuttlecocks: So true. Last Thursday, February 11th, at 5:08 am, you passed beyond the orbit of Neptune. What was that like?

Pluto: Well first of all, that date means nothing to me. When your year is over 248 Earth-years long, individual earth months are pointless. See, you people are all excited that I’ve moved to the back of the solar system once again, as it’s something that only happens once in a couple of your lifetimes, but to me, it happens every year.

BS: I see your point.

P: So what was it like? It was exactly like it was last year. Cold. Dark. No one there to say “Hey! Nice job! Keep up the good work!”

BS: But this is the first time that we on Earth have noticed. We’re paying attention.

P: Like I care. I’m not really happy with you guys right now.

BS: Yes, let’s talk about that. Earlier in the week, you narrowly avoided being de-classified. They weren’t sure if you should continue to be considered a planet. What was that all about?

P: Damn astronomers just wanted something to do. They wanted to make me a Minor Planet, or even a Trans-Neptunian Object. I mean how insulting is that? Trans-Neptunian Object? Your Mom’s a Trans-Neptunian Object!

BS: You feel very strongly about this.

P: You’re damn right I do. I’ve been a planet ever since I was first discovered in 1930. Mickey Mouse named his dog after me! I was the big time! But some people are a little jealous of all the attention I get. They started saying things, making fun of my size and erratic orbit. Well damn it, it’s not my fault if I’m a little smaller than the other planets. Regardless to what Godzilla tried to convince you last summer, Size Doesn’t Matter! (Ed. Note: Pluto is roughly two-thirds the size of Earth’s moon — and he seems to have a complex about it.) And my orbit is erratic? Of course it is! I’m lonely out there! I get a cosmic visitor about once every ten thousand years. I’m the only planet you guys haven’t even tried to come visit! I’ve got to do something to keep me occupied!

BS: Is there any friction between you and Neptune? Does Neptune mind that you make her the most distant planet for 20 years every 248 years?

P: Neptune? Who can say with that wench? Like she’d lower herself to talk to me. She’s a big ball of gas, and she barely notices I exist. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she were one of the driving forces behind my near-demotion. She’d probably get a big kick out of having me called a Trans-Neptunian Object!

BS: I see. Let’s talk about your moon, Charon.

P: What about it?

BS: Well it’s awfully big, compared to you.

P: Again with the size thing! What is it with you people and size?

BS: I’m sorry, I don’t mean to belabor a point, but some scientists take to calling the two of you a “double planet.”

P: Hogwash! I’m the planet, Charon’s the moon, and if Charon has a problem with that arrangement, he can stick it where the sun don’t shine.

BS: Which would be just about anywhere in your orbit.

P: Tell me about it. You guys all worship the sun like it’s God’s gift to the Solar System. Well from my orbit, it’s barely even the brightest star. Lot of good it does me. You know I haven’t had a tan in over 5 billion years?

BS: Well, we’re about out of time Pluto. Thank you for taking a moment to speak with us.

P: Sure. What the Hell else am I gonna do? I have nothing exciting planned for 228 of your years, when I cross Neptune again. Won’t that be a blast.

BS: Yes, well maybe we’ll drop by for a visit some time.

P: Right, just as soon as you get over your infatuation with Mars.

BS: Perhaps.

P: Whatever. I’ll be here.