Jeff Vrabel: Beware of spy satellites falling from the sky -- no, really

Jeff Vrabel

I don't mean to alarm you, but you and everyone around you are soon going to die.

So if you haven't recently called your Mom for a little "Five People You Meet In Heaven" emotional cleansing, if you have any particularly egregious sins that need repenting or if you have anything left on the Bucket List to tend to, now's probably as good a time as any.

Also, if you've been looking at that giant plasma-screen but weren't sure you could really afford it, well, I'm no financial adviser, but I think it's probably OK to knock yourself out. You can't make payments when you're hurtling through space, so you may as well spend your precious last few hours on Earth absorbing "Celebrity Rehab" in sweet, glorious high-def.

If you have not yet been made aware of the very latest Thing Hurtling Through Space That Will Kill Us All, which in recent years has included several asteroids, the comet Hale-Bopp and the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, I regret to inform you of the reason behind the planet's imminent disintegration:

It so happens that a large American spy satellite has lost power - we'll get back to that in a minute – and is this minute falling out of orbit and will soon smack spectacularly into Earth in late February or March. This is according to a report released this weekend by Your Federal Government, which in addition to inventing pinheaded wars and failing to predict a recession is not terrifically skilled at keeping its batteries charged.

Though many 11-year-olds can assume control of their neighbor's Wii with their cell phone and a relatively insignificant amount of effort, Your Government can no longer control its flaming, hurtling-toward-populated-areas spy satellite, which, incidentally, may or may not contain hazardous chemicals. They can't really tell us what's on the plunging satellite of doom because, and you may want to sit down for this, it's classified!

Still, to make you feel better, let me turn things over to Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the National Security Council, which is probably not the most backbreaking job you'll hear about today, to offer us a little bit of that meat-and-taters straight-talk for which Washington is known:

"Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation," said Mr. Johndroe, from a marble-slab throne in a massive gray room guarded by monkeys. "We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause."

Ideas being floated about involve giant domes, strong umbrellas and getting more or less everyone out of Nevada by the end of the month.

I'm just kidding, of course: He went to say - surprise! - that it would be inappropriate to discuss any specifics at this time, such as ways to stop the speeding crashing fiery satellite from smashing into Earth.

Now, I am just a simple man with simple needs, like a Little Debbie Brownie right this very second, but if I were looking into potential options to mitigate damage, I might start with SHOOTING THE THING OUT OF THE SKY, which we could reasonably do, if all of our guns were not in Iraq or Dick Cheney's house.

Now, things fall out of space all the time - Skylab came down in 1979 into the Indian Ocean, and debris from a 7,000-pound science satellite is believed to have plummeted down over the Persian Gulf in 2002, in a little-known military operation under the working title Let's Drop Trash On Them, See What They Think Of That. Asteroids go whizzing past us all the time, and every now and again, of course, there are still sightings of little pieces of the Death Star.

It's not really the space-junk aspect of this that bothers me; it's the continued consequence-free stream of government secrecy. It makes me very angry, very angry indeed.

Jeff Vrabel is a freelance writer whose Bucket List involves being a pirate. He can be reached at