Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Black Hole Harangue

The Prude first learned about black holes in her college astronomy class. She smiled pityingly at the professor, much as one would smile at a child expressing a firm belief in Oz, or Never-Never Land.

The Prude spent the next few decades denying the existence of black holes. But her experiences of the past weekend convinced her not only that black holes exist, but that they are here. Among us. Now.

According to The Prude’s Source, a black hole is ‘a region of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape. It is the result of the deformation of spacetime caused by a very compact mass. Around a black hole there is an undetectable surface which marks the point of no return.’ (scary emphasis mine)

On earth, this black hole is known as Chicago. The Prude has proof.

First, and most obvious, is the satellite image above.
I know it looks as though Chicago is very bright and light, but remember- a black hole is a region from which nothing, not even light, can escape.  All that light you see? It is trapped in Chicago and it can’t get out. Notice how dark the surrounding areas are. Chicago stole all their light, Every last bit.

For our next proof, we ask that you look at a map of Illinois. The Prude dares you to find a road anywhere in the eastern part of the state that doesn’t get slurped right into Chicago, no matter how it tries to sneak away. Hwy 80 eastbound? It gets its elbow twisted till it shouts ‘uncle!’ and heads to Chi-town. I-94 west is brainwashed till it believes it wants to be Chicago-bound.  39 southbound? Hwy 90 grabs at it to send parts scuttling to you-know-where. It valiantly limps south, even though Hwy 80 makes a bid to pull it to the Windy City. Hwy 39, bloody but unbowed, tries again, but just north of Bloomington it meets it nemesis. Hwy 55 strikes the final blow, and Hwy 39, resigned to its fate, trudges up to Chicago, black hole of the Midwest.

On the Prude Family recent trip to a Chicago suburb, we decided to be technical and modern and take along a GPS.  We’ll call him Tom. Son Prude pushed a lot of buttons that told Tom where we wanted to go, and, smiling, we were off. We wouldn’t have been smiling had we known we were soon to come into the Compact Mass of a Black Hole.

Tom was off to a great start. He led the Prudes along quiet little back roads. But as we neared the Big City, Tom began to get fidgety. The quiet back roads disappeared and The Prudes found themselves in bumper-to-bumper traffic headed straight for the innards of Chicago.  The Prude’s son patiently informed Tom that we wanted the south suburbs, NOT the City of Big Shoulders to the east. Tom tried, but his resistance was weak, and once again The Prude mobile was headed nose-first into that toddlin’ town. Young Prude frantically re-programmed Tom, but the poor little GPS had no fight left. He had passed the Point of No Return (see definition above) and the Prudes found themselves sucked directly into the deformation of spacetime called Chicago.

Tom was unplugged in disgrace. The Prude’s husband and son tried to be manly, but The Prude resorted to her standby in times of extreme duress. She cried. At which point the black hole spat her and her men out into Calumet, located somewhere above the Chicago armpit.
The Prudes were free! Ignoring the disgraced GPS, they pulled an ancient map from somewhere and found their way to their conference. 2 hours late.

Prudes are nothing if not forgiving. Once out of the suctioning power of the town Mrs. O’Leary’s cow couldn’t burn, they gave Tom another chance. The Prude’s son watched him like a hawk and twice prevented him from convincing us that the fastest way to our western suburb hotel from our southern suburb conference was through the heart of Chicagoland( an indirect proof that Chicago is, indeed, a black hole. Do we call NYC, ‘NewYorkland’? Is L.A. referred to as ‘LosAngelesland? Do we eat beans in ‘Bostonland’? NO! Only in the City of Black Hole)

Finally, we refer to the epic football game last evening between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. If you watched carefully you saw Green Bay fumble the undetectable surface (a sure sign of a black hole) of the football. You saw the penalty calls consistently siphoned toward Chicago’s favor. And those final confusing laterals? They weren’t the Packer’s fault. The ball was just irresistibly drawn to the Black Hole known as Chicago.

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