You might think the sun is forever, but it’s not. No, I’m not speaking metaphorically about your relationship to your damn girlfriend. Current models predict that our star has 7 or 8 billion years left of hydrogen to burn. Eventually it will go out.
Before it does, though, it will expand into what is called a Red Giant, its imploding helium core hurling back the fiery remaining hydrogen millions of kilometers into the solar system, engulfing Mercury, then Venus, then the Earth, your shitty apartment, your worthless collection of vintage books, your stupid juicer that you don’t clean properly so everyone knows how much kale you slurp, burning everything.
This is a problem.
So, while you were sitting on your ass, complaining about so-and-so not taking your aspirations seriously or the lack of greenery in your yard, I’ve been putting my brainpower to use solving the problem of the sun’s death. Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands.
I brainstormed silently, by myself, inside my brain, and listed the following potential solutions:
1. Get more hydrogen from other stars. Short term palliative, doesn’t really solve the problem, other suns are burning out too, also it’s hard to steal a sun because everybody immediately notices it’s gone missing.
2. Reverse the hydrogen-into-helium process, by extracting helium from the sun, and setting up a volunteer system where people could provide a few hours a week of free time to separate helium into constituent hydrogen and shipping it back to the sun. Doesn’t work. You can’t count on volunteers, they’re wishy-washy babies and they expect more gratitude than they’re worth.
3. Force time to move backwards every few billion years to replenish the sun’s hydrogen reserves. Doesn’t work. The side effect is that time will move backwards for everything, and no one wants to go back to being an awkward zit-faced teen. Especially you.
4. Migrate the sun from a hydrogen-based diet to a plant-based diet. This will have many other benefits, not least of which the sun can stop hating itself and making us hate ourselves in turn. Doesn’t work though. Only earth has plants and there’s no reason we should be carrying more weight in this endeavor than asshole Mercury and wanker Venus (seriously, Venus, if you’re even still listening at this point: fuck you. Your carefully worded endorsement of “Team Solar System” meant nothing. NOTHING).
5. Change the laws of physics so that this doesn’t happen. Easily the most difficult implementation of any of the items on this list, for reasons that are too long to get into, and to be honest I’m not sure I could explain it to you, not because I’m not a good teacher but, well, OK.
I ended up going with the last solution, even though it meant working late. I broke it down into readily attainable minor goals along a planned trajectory, set up a calendar and followed through.
So tomorrow morning, when you wake up around 11 a.m. and start doing your daily yoga, don’t think “salute to the sun,” think salute to me, out there doing what needs to be done to make sure the sun keeps going. You’re welcome.