Why does it bother me so much that Pluto is no longer a planet?
I mean, I've never been there. And it's not like I've always been meaning to go but just never got around to it, the way it was when Jerry Garcia died and I had to confront the reality that I was never going to see The Dead - the real Dead, not just Bob Weir and Friends - and that I should have made more of an effort to see them when I had the chance, and I really blew it that time in the days before cell phones when I kept circling Madison Square Garden, leaving and retrieving answering machine messages from pay phones, trying to meet up with the guy who had my ticket, and finally giving up and going drinking with friends instead. It's not at all like that.
But I am really, really upset about Pluto.
I think it's because Bud is such a fan of the planets. He's got glow-in-the-dark planets hanging from his ceiling, with little Pluto far away in the dark corner of his room. He's got a full-color, beautifully laminated solar system poster on his wall. We frequently sit in his dark room, watching his glowing planets, belting out a mean duet of the planet song from Blues Clues:
Well, the sun's a hot star;
Mercury's hot too!
Venus is the brightest planet;
Earth's home to me and you.
Mars is the red one
And Jupiter's most wide.
Saturn's got those icy rings
and Uranus spins on its side.
Neptune's really windy
and Pluto's really small.
Well, we wanted to name the planets,
And now we've named them all.
Pluto's really small. Too small, it seems.
A couple of weeks ago, when things looked a lot less bleak for The Pluto Formerly Known As Planet, I explained to Bud that there might be three new planets in the solar system.
"New planets, Mom?" he asked. "On Blues Clues?"
"Well, I guess they will have to write a new song," I replied.
"How about Teletubbies?" he said.
"I guess they'll have the new planets, too."
But, no. I haven't broken the news to Bud yet, but there will be no new planets for the Teletubbies. Just one fewer planet for Bud.
I suppose Blues Clues will still need a new song, though.
And Mary's Violet Eyes will still Make John Stay Up Nightly. But even religion takes a hit now that John has stopped Praying.
Well. Here's to you, Pluto. We'll miss you, old friend. But I just want you to know this:
If it had been up to me, I'd have lobbied for keeping you and getting rid of Uranus.