Want to put the eclipse in the shade? Shine with your own light instead.

And do you know what it means when the white ball rolls in front of the yellow ball? That’s right. Nothing.

Photo by: Paulo Guedes

Not to alienate myself – even further – from the rest of humanity, but I think this eclipse mania is absurd.

Crouching down to bespy the transit of billiard balls from eye-level would be an equivalent thrill – but you can talk yourself out of that just by imagining how boring it would be.

I admire physics just as much as the next guy, but the best thing about physics – compared with every other origin story – is that physics is a god who manages to get along without constant palliation.

A decent reason to be aware of the eclipse is that it puts the lie to every other origin story – but so does all the rest of reality. Meanwhile, if you have to tell yourself the same story over and over again – including physics – my guess is you don’t believe it.

Your business. If you are a kid or you have kids, it’s a rare teachable moment, and I totally get that. And I have no doubt that everyone would welcome having something else to talk about right now – especially something that unites us all, even if only as passive spectators. I get that, too.

But if you have made any preparations beyond planning to take a look out the window Monday – we’re going at this being-a-grown-up business differently. And if you have spent money on the eclipse…

Good grief. We traipse through life like mourners except when we’re skipping around like drunks. We eat nothing but gruel – or cotton candy. We are gorged by our own starvation. Fascinated by our incessant, repetitive boredom. Credulously jaded, cynically incorrigible, smug as only the perfectly-ignorant can be smug…

Hey, wait! We are kids!

I knew that, of course. It’s what we’ve been talking about: You became you when you graduated from Toddler to Child, and you haven’t changed much since then. Me, neither: I had zero patience for standing around doing nothing back then, too. So, yes, there’s DISC here: I’s and S’s are going be a lot more eclipse-happy than C’s or D’s.

But if something as ordinary as one billiard ball passing in front of another can put all of human life in the shade…

We waste every gift we have when we refuse to stop being kids.

I have more to say about this, but it hardly matters now, does it? The time to preach about the evils of corn liquor is in the midst of the hangover, not before the party gets started.

You’ll do what you do, anyway, and so will I. But if you find on Monday that your real life benefits more from your attention than does an accident of nature – do the world a great big favor and shine with your own light instead.

The billiard balls won’t care if you don’t watch them. That’s what I like about them best.

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  • I am OK with solar eclipse mania so long as it displaces Russo-phobia.