Carrie Bickmore was on her way to McCafe to catch up with her friends Sheila, Sheila and Sheila over a delicious McLatte. God, she couldn’t wait for a McLatte! Ever since the McDonalds Corporation had arrived in Australia the entire population had become obsessed with the deliciously creamy beverages. Each morning, every Australian raced out of their tin shack, unless they were poor or a cripple, and headed straight to their local McCafe. The Australian landscape was harsh and unwelcoming and populated with dingos, crocodiles and trillions of deadly spiders, and McLattes helped everyone to feel just a little bit fancy.
As she drove to her local McCafe in the car from Mad Max, Carrie Bickmore wondered idly if other countries had McLattes. She’d heard tale of a land far away, over the sea, called America, where they had something called “diners”. It was possible, she thought, that these “diners” had McLattes. Possible, but then again: her shrewd journalistic instinct told her it was unlikely McCafe would share their ingenious milk-frothing technology with a competitor. She let out a self-satisfied giggle (her first for the day!) and ran over an Aborigine.
Then she arrived at the McCafe and parked her car up against a spinifex bush. She could see Sheila, Sheila and Sheila through the window. She waved at them, but they did not wave back, probably because they were trying to get one of the many businessmen who congregated in the McCafe to marry them. “Girls will be girls,” said Carrie Bickmore, casually opening a Fosters with her forehead. She drank it one gulp, then used the glass bottom to magnify the sun’s rays and set fire to a nearby koala. Then she headed into the McCafe.
When her friends Sheila, Sheila and Sheila saw her, they squealed so much that a nearby businessman’s head exploded! His body was eaten by dingos. “How are ya, Sheilas?” said Carrie Bickmore. They squealed some more, indicating as they did so that they had been reading a feature in Cosmopolitan Magazine on How To Give Him The Best Orgasm He’s Ever Had. “Strewth, that sounds bloody grouse!” said Carrie Bickmore. “How To Give Him The Best Orgasm He’s Ever Had? I’ll have to bloody read that.”
As she said the words, a hush fell upon the assembled businessblokes. Carrie and the Sheilas looked around nervously. Slowly, one of the blokes stood up, his eyes fixed on Carrie. “Bloody hell,” one of the Sheilas murmured. The bloke began to thread his way through the crowded McCafe, the room silent but for the crunch of dead eucalyptus leaves underfoot. He walked up to Carrie and stuck out his hand: “G’day,” he said, and then had sex with her so hard she had a baby there and then.
“You had me at g’day,” she said, scooping up the screaming infant, “that was bloody bonza”.
Then they all cracked open another Fosters, including the baby, and threw some shrimp on the barbie etc etc.
This year is anniversary of the famous “pale blue dot”. It’s a photograph of Earth, as seen from Voyager 1 while on the edge of our solar system - approximately 3,762,136,324 miles from home. By request of Carl Sagan, NASA commanded the Voyager 1 spacecraft, having completed its primary mission and now leaving the Solar System, to turn its camera around and to take a photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space. His words in regards to this photograph are always worth remembering:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
despite all our rage, aren’t we still just a pigeon on the subway?