Rejected Pitches: Remember When You Thought I Was an Omen of the Apocalypse?
Hey folks, it’s me, the Great American Eclipse! You might’ve heard about me from breathless space dorks, but if you haven’t, a brief refresher: I’m that thing that happens when the moon lines up directly between the Earth and Sun. On August 21, I’ll be stopping by to blot out the Sun and bring a swathe of darkness across the United States the likes of which you all haven’t seen since last November.
You won’t want to miss it — it’s gonna be a blast. Millions of people will put on protective eyewear, strain their necks, and watch as I turn day into night for about two minutes. Then most of you will probably say something like “That was pretty cool” and get drunk. I’ll be great.
But I have to say, it kinda pales in comparison to what you folks used to do. Your boy Thales of Miletus predicted I’d show up in 585 BCE, and sure enough, I did, right into the middle of a war between the Medes and the Lydians. You know what happened? They put down their weapons and called the whole thing quits.
Sure, some of you are taking the day off and driving a couple hundred miles to see me, but back when I showed up in Ancient Greece, they literally stopped a war because of me. That’s respect.
When I showed up in Mesopotamia, in 1223 BCE, they wrote me poetry:
“On the day of the new moon, in the month of Hiyar, the Sun was put to shame, and went down in the daytime, with Mars in attendance.”
You hear that? I put the Sun to shame.
1302 BCE, I show up in China. Emperor swears off meat and performs rituals to save the Sun from me.
When Jesus got crucified? I was there.
When Mohammed was born? I was there.
King Henry I of England dies? I was there, and you know what they said? “Hideous darkness agitated the hearts of men.” I caused a frickin’ civil war. Me. I did that.
1919. Nice big one. I blocked the Sun for a whole 6 minutes and 51 seconds. Helped proved Einstein and his general theory of relativity correct, too.
Look, I don’t mean to complain — we have a great relationship, we really do. And I understand that it’s different these days. You all know when I’m coming, how long I’m going to stay, yadda yadda. But it’s hard, y’know? I used to be this big omen, a sign of cosmic import, a harbinger of darkness. And now, I’m like, a tourist attraction.
Don’t get me wrong — I love that more people than ever are gonna get to see me. (Wear your eye protection, kids!) It’s just a tough transition from “augury of Armageddon“ to “summer sightseeing.”
I’m not asking for you to start murdering and pillaging and upending the social order on account of little ol’ me. But if you could do me a solid and at least pretend, just for a second, that the end of the world might be coming, it’d mean a lot.
On that day, my shadow will slip across the fiery disc of the Sun. Molten heat will ebb to dimmed splendor. A shroud of gloom will descend from the vault of heaven, bearing darkness from the void. I will traverse the sky, devouring your star until the totality of my imposition is complete.
So when the light dwindles, give a little tremble. As darkness smothers the sky, let your children cry out. And when the chthonic night reaps the day, cower before me.
It’d mean a lot, okay?