We Have Enraged the Mighty God Jupiter and We Must Repent

Image for post
Image for post
Jupiter flings his lightning bolts at some poor innocent lion (a cat who has never done anything wrong in his life) instead of flinging asteroids at Earth. (Lithograph by Frederick Heppenheimer, Library of Congress)

O mighty Jove, Deathless Lord of the Vastness, Jupiter Tonans, what have we, your devoted servants, done to anger you so? Before we had exulted in your protection from the asteroides, and had given thanks for your beneficent care of mankind and, more importantly, our beautiful dogs and cats. Now we learn that you punish us by flinging the asteroides towards us! Must we be sent to Orcus and delivered into the hands of the mighty Dīs Pater? We pray that it is so, and yet, the asteroides continue to miss us. Why, o great Jupiter Optimus Maximus, must you punish us by forsaking us on this horrid land. And so we beg, o great one, that you improve your aim.

All thanks and honor to you, all-powerful Jove!

O fellow citizens, for many years scientists have observed that the sexiest and best planet in our solar system, Jupiter (do not talk to me about Saturn because I do not want to hear about it), has served as a sort of shield protecting Earth from asteroids intent on causing our destruction. Why humans deserve to live on while the dinosaurs, who were admittedly much cooler and better for the environment, did not is an impossible question to answer, but I can only assume that Jupiter, ruled by that most promiscuous (to put it politely) of gods, has deemed it so. Now, according to some scientists (but mostly this one scientist who seems just a little bit too petty and anti-Jupiter about the whole thing), we can say that this theory is flawed. Not because Jupiter doesn’t act as a shield — it does — but because the same gravitational force that allows it to act as Earth’s shield is just as likely to fling asteroids straight at Earth.

I, for one, do not really see a problem with this. Who doesn’t enjoy a good game of chance? Maybe Jupiter will spare us and pull an asteroid into its big, beautiful gassy self, or maybe Jupiter will fling an asteroid straight at the Hieronymus Bosch painting that humanity has become. I think we have worked hard to earn the latter and, to be frank, if an asteroid chucked at us by Jupiter doesn’t do the trick, climate change or nuclear war or some supervolcano that has overslept will almost certainly step in to take care of things.

What I do see a problem with is the fact that Jupiter appears to have shockingly bad aim. I mean, really, what is going on here? I know that my puny humanities-focused brain can only begin to comprehend the vastness of space and that, if an object is flung in the general direction of Earth, it is much more likely to hit all that space than it is Earth, but I feel like, eventually, something’s got to give. My only explanation for our continued asteroid-less existence is that we have enraged the mighty god Jupiter and that we must repent.

Image for post
Image for post
When you’re the best planet in the solar system but refuse to put humans out of their misery. (Courtesy NASA, ESA, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), and M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley)

What will it take to convince Jupiter to take pity on Prometheus’ creations? While the ancient Romans were apparently not super into human sacrifice (a shame), they did do it occasionally, and their method of choice appears to have been burying people alive. This sounds great. I already have a list of eligible individuals in mind, but will refrain from posting their names here for fear of being labelled “political.” Some will argue that we could also just sacrifice a pig, or maybe even just build a nice altar or have a wine-soaked festival; and like, sure, we could do that, but we could also bury a few pesky people alive, is all I’m saying.

Others will object to the idea that we have to be offed by an asteroid at all. Humans aren’t the only living beings on the planet, after all. What about those beautiful dogs and cats that I mentioned in my very official and authentic prayer to Jupiter? These people are right, of course. All dogs and cats are perfect and have never done anything wrong even once ever in their entire lives. They deserve to be protected. Thus, I propose that we all choose one human that we like (Tom Hanks?) and send him on a Noah’s Ark of sorts with all of the dogs and cats of the world (this includes wild dogs and cats as well as other cute animals like rabbits and elephants) to live off-planet on somewhere like, oh, I don’t know, Europa. This, I think, is a reasonable plan.

There are other downsides to a mass extinction. The economy will inevitably suffer. I will not be able to donate my body to ballistics testing, as there will be no one around to test it. Unless, of course, the aliens that have been secretly watching us for decades come to Earth after our demise and use my body for their own ballistics testing, which, I want to publicly state, I heartily approve of. I would also prefer if any disaster of this sort, whether of the asteroid kind or any other variety, would hold off for a few years while I finally get some international travelling done now that I have a job that gives me paid vacation and pays me enough to do some minimal international travelling. I know that the whole world doesn’t revolve around me and my life plans, but I am an only child and I’m fairly certain that it actually does revolve around me and my life plans and that everyone just says that it doesn’t to make themselves feel better.

So please, as you go about your daily lives, try to think about what you could be doing to appease the mighty god Jupiter. Whether it be devouring your McDonald’s chicken nuggets meal in Jove’s name or writing to NASA imploring them to rename the planets with their Greek names since the Romans were just a bunch of copycats, try to do what you must to earn Jupiter’s forgiveness. The welfare of humanity depends upon it.

Cat mom, librarian, and writer in Chicago.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store