In the classic holiday film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey offered to lasso the moon and pull it down in an effort to impress a girl. The lad explained the heavenly object could then be swallowed which would result in moonbeams shooting from her fingers, toes and the ends of her hair.
If I were George Bailey wooing a girl as cute as Mary, I’d offer up a lunar rodeo if the idea occurred to me. A fanciful line like that would’ve guaranteed a date to homecoming.
Unfortunately, my real life patter was less enchanting and I spent the fall dance at a smoky arcade trying to break high score on Space Invaders.
But George’s galactic realignment may be a bad idea. The moon is a huge, heavy mass and surely difficult to move. If Mary demanded delivery of her beau’s whimsical promise, George may have had his hands full.
Let’s review the nuts and bolts of the operation.
Rope A Dope
Where would George possibly find a length of rope sufficient to reach our closest celestial neighbor? According to NASA, the moon is 225,745 miles away from the earth. That would entail traveling by car at 70 mph for 130 days (not including potty breaks.)
The Bedford Falls hardware store would probably be his first inquiry.
“Hi, Mr. Johnson!”
“Well, hello George, how may I help you?”
“Do you have any rope?”
“We have twine.”
“I need rope.”
“Oh … check in the bin by the door hinges. How much do you need?”
“Ahhh … kind of a lot … enough to reach outer space.”
“Well, your dad has a credit line, I’ll order some in for next Wednesday.”
So hump day rolls around and George has rope that will reach the moon. Now what?
Of all the tasks that are made to look easy, lassoing is at the top. What boy hasn’t seen Will Rogers twirl a lariat with graceful ease and then try to emulate the trick?
I recall standing in my backyard as a kid spinning a rope over my head for hours, awkwardly attempting to wrangle my neighbor’s beagle Tucker. To this day the long-faced pup may still roam the free range.
But if anyone has the confidence to throw a rope thousands of miles into the atmosphere with exacting accuracy, it is George Bailey. He had just danced the Charleston, how difficult could it be?
So let’s say, by some miracle, our hero ropes that sucker. George better like Wheaties. The moon weighs 81 quintillion tons, as stated by the California Institute of Technology. To give you an idea how heavy that is, one quintillion tons is really, really heavy. Multiply that by 81.
Feeding The Moon to Mary: Bad Idea.
And what does George fancy after getting the moon? Build a dream house and live happily ever after? No. He suggests Mary swallow the orb like a gigantic pill. Not only is that unromantic, it’s downright dangerous.
The moon’s crust, if you believe space.com, consists of silicon, magnesium, iron, calcium, aluminum and for all I know, Kryptonite. You couldn’t get me to eat a morsel of that, even If I were on Survivor and promised immunity.
It’s here that George’s thinking falls off the grid. Our hero makes the assumption that if Mary eats the moon it will dissolve and moonbeams will shoot out of her fingers and toes and the ends of her hair.
More likely, Mary may keel over in a New York minute.
And when the homicide detectives come knocking on his door, George may sob uncontrollably.
“I loved Mary. We were going to get married and travel the world. I even put stickers on my suitcase. I can’t believe the space particles had such an effect.”
”Did you eat any of the moon rocks, Bailey?”
“No … I guess I didn’t … but …”
“Why don’t you come downtown with us.”
The Day After
The results of George yanking down the moon could be devastating. The moon, as National Geographic points out, serves to balance out the tides.
Guess what. No moon. No Tides. No tides. No surfing.
Those surfer dudes may not let go easily. Some could paddle out a 100 yards and just sit there waiting. Waiting for a wave. A wave that may never come. Sad.
And If I were to guess, the moon’s gravitational field may draw in asteroids and other objects that would normally hit the earth. Without the moon, our great planet could be more susceptible to a collision with a foreign object.
You know whom to blame if you’re hit by a chunk of the Milky Way. George Bailey.
And I’m not a scientist, but common sense suggests the whole solar system could be thrown out of whack. In a blink of an eye, we may all be forced to move to underground bunkers, eat Spaghetti O’s and only dream of the day when we could get Netflix.
So there you have it, instead of securing a gift that would beguile his first love, George is doing 25-30 for involuntary manslaughter. And the rest of us would sit in total darkness unable to watch season two of Boardwalk Empire.
Next time follow my lead. Grab some quarters and head off for a game of Frogger.