Thursday, 29 December 2011

Crazy about the Moon

The word ‘droll’ is one we don’t use enough these days. 

It means humorous, but in an odd or whimsical way and, since I rather like whimsy, I feel the word deserves an effort to rescue it from its gradual disappearance. To that end, what could be better that to dig out a little drollery from amongst the general misery that is the news these days?  

An item that recently caught my eye and got me smiling was the announcement that a group of scientists were launching a hunt for signs of visits by space aliens to our moon. 

Desirable residence for ET and his mates?
Why the Moon? ‘Although there is only a tiny probability that alien technology would have left traces on the moon in the form of an artefact or surface modification of lunar features,’ they wrote, ‘this location has the virtue of being close, and of preserving traces for an immense duration.’

So – we’re looking there because it’s easier than looking anywhere else.

I’m irresistibly reminded of the story of a man returning home late one night who comes across another on his hands and knees under a lamppost, anxiously searching the ground.

‘What’s the problem?’ asks the first man.

‘I’ve lost a contact lens,’ comes the reply.

‘Oh, I’ll help you,’ says our protagonist who gets down and starts looking too. But after twenty minutes of fruitless hunting, he stops and asks:

‘Are you sure you lost the contact lens here?’

‘Oh, no,’ says the other, ‘it was nowhere near here. But this is the only place with any light.’

We should salute those scientists for their keenness and their spirit of enterprise. And wish them every success in their droll endeavour.

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