Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thanks for playing, Pluto

Well, Pluto, you had a good run. But if we let you into the club, we'd have to start letting everyone in, and then it's not a very good club, is it? So you'll have to give back your monogrammed jacket, hand in your badge and gun, or whatever it is that former planets do when they shuffle sadly out of the kids' songs, mnemonic devices, and orreries of the world.

I have to say, I feel kind of bad for Pluto. It's not because of the stupid cartoon dog! It's because when I went to college, everybody had an imposter complex -- everyone thought she was secretly an admissions mistake -- and that has never really stopped for me. Imagine the shame and indignity of knowing for hundreds of years that you're not really a planet, that you can't really hang with the cool kids, that you're just there by mistake until someone notices... and then imagine them actually noticing and calling you on it. Mortifying! I mean, you think Pluto didn't know it couldn't really cut it as a planet? You think it wasn't waiting for the other shoe to drop?

The answer, of course, is no, it did not know, because it is a large chunk of rock and ice. But I have a well-documented problem with anthropomorphism, so please leave me to my grief.

Goodbye, Pluto. I suppose My Very Eager Mother will now Just Serve Us Nectarines, or Napkins, or Nickelback. I'll miss you and the irregular orbit that turned out to be your tragic flaw.


Laura said...

a.) when I went to college, everybody had an imposter complex

Except me!

b.) My Very Educated Mother! What are you implying, saying she's so "eager"?

8/24/2006 1:18 PM  
jess said...

b) "Eager" scans better, Mrs. Poetpants.

a) Yeah, why didn't you have one? That was weird!

8/24/2006 2:34 PM  
Anna said...

It was her SAT scores.

8/24/2006 3:23 PM  
jess said...

Oh, nonsense, I had good SAT scores. I mean, they're never as good as Laura's, but I got an 800 verbal too.

What I do is, I just also get an imposter complex about the SATs. ;>

(Not technically true. I just stop believing the SATs mean anything.)

8/24/2006 4:19 PM  
JordanBaker said...

This totally ruins all the good songs I learned about there being "9 planets, fine planets" in Montessori school. I mean, you can change it to "eight planets, great planets," I guess, but the last verse was

"Uranus and Neptune, nothing between/ Far from the Sun and hard to be seen./ Pluto's the next place to go/ He's the last planet that we now know."

What are liberal yuppie kids going to sing now? "Uranus and Neptune, nothing between/Far from the Sun and hard to be seen/ and then there's Pluto and Ceres and something we call Xena/ which aren't really planets but we had to end the song somehow"? I mean, come on. The rhythm's just terrible.

8/25/2006 10:29 AM  
jess said...

Dr. Freeride was actually soliciting rhymes for "twelve" in anticipation of having to change the "nine planets, fine planets" song. "Eight" is at least easier to rhyme than "twelve."

My favorite suggestion was the Ogden-esque:
Planets around here, there are a dozen,
Wait five minutes, they'll add anozzer 'un.
Will they add Sedna to make it thirteen?
In a few months they will I'm quite certeen.

I imagine they'll do something like the Hebrew alphabet song does to deal with the "well they're sort of letters but not really" final letters -- just tack a bit on the end that says "wait, did we forget something? Oh right, there are dwarf planets."

8/25/2006 10:58 AM  
Anna said...

I agree completely; I was going for the nonsense effect. I would never intentionally asperse your SATs, Jess, which I have always assumed were astronomical. Nor did I mean to imply that Laura was the kind of dingbat who derives her self-worth from a test score when she has so many more robust sources of self-esteem.

8/25/2006 1:38 PM  
JordanBaker said...

"well they're sort of letters but not really" final letters

The Italian alphabet song does that too--its the same tune as the English abc song, but there are fewer letters so the end goes "zeta e la fine e con questo ho finito" (z is the end and with that we are done).

8/26/2006 10:39 AM  
jess said...

Anna: Oh, well that makes more sense.

Jordan: The Italians will be in trouble if they add or remove a letter, then.

What I meant with the Hebrew alphabet is that there are five letters that have final forms which only occur when the letter is at the end of a word, so they're tacked on at the end of the song... the translation literally goes something like "but there are some that we forgot, we forgot the finals, Kaf, Mem, Nun, Fe, Tzade." One could do something like that with "eight planets, great planets" -- have a whole song with the real planets, and then cram the dwarfs in at the end.

8/26/2006 2:04 PM  

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