May you pass into the void
Up above the world so bright
Like a UFO in the night
How I hope I you avoid.
Those are Mike Gifford's thoughts about the asteroid that's going to kill us all in 30 years' time. If it doesn't avoid us, he recommends diverting it into the Pacific to deal with El Nino or giving it to Sian Cole, because "she will know what to do with a heavenly body". Several other readers suggested not giving it to Ms Cole because she already has a heavenly body - which, you may be pleased to hear, Ms Cole promises to let us all see before the asteroid wipes us out. "In the old days," she says, "I'd have been sacrificed as a pure virgin to save the earth."
Len Clarke suggests that a quick lesson in soccer for the man in the moon might be in order, so that he can dribble it out of our way. Ciaran Ryan wants to turn the asteroid into an educational tool by attaching a remotely controlled motor to it. He says it could then be used as a cursor in the sky to indicate the positions of astral bodies to astronomy students. Failing that, he suggests eating it - an idea endorsed by Adam Nottage, who points out that "everyone knows that asteroids are made of stewing steak: they're meaty a'right."
"Organise a party when the whole world gets stoned," says Nigel Plevin. He wonders what odds Ladbrokes are offering against a celestial snooker shot, with the asteroid cannoning the earth against the moon, potting it into a black hole. "Even if we asteroid questions," he reminds us, "it doesn't guarantee that we will get the roid answers." James Nicholas says: "If asteroid time I'll meteorite after the pubs open."
Susan Tomes says: "Perhaps David Cronenberg should plan a new film, Crash 2, about people who get sexual pleasure from asteroid impact. At least then they will truly be able to say that the earth moved for them."
"Throw it in the bin," says Peter Thomas. "It's just a universal junk mailing." Anne Furze points out that "asteroid" is an anagram of "I roasted", which is what she expects to be if it hits her.
"An asteroid by a sunny day
Quite hidden from the eye,
Fair as a star when only one
Is falling from the sky:
Can serve to concentrate the minds
Of those about to die"
writes Maguy Higgs, with apologies to Wordsworth.
Robin Baker thinks that the pharmaceutical industry should have no problem adapting the well-known haemorrhoids remedy "Preparation H" into "Preparation A" - a cure for asteroids. Carla Jamison heads her contribution: "Things to do with the big asteroid that's coming to obliterate us all in 30 years' time (unless we're very good and eat our greens)". She says "It's obvious Peter Mandelson has prior knowledge of where the asteroid is going to hit and has had the good sense to build a huge dome over the area." It he has calculated wrongly, she suggests using all the bulldozers left over from a few weeks ago to collect together all the holes in the road to create one large hole, big enough for the asteroid. She's still worried, though, that it might look like a monstrous carbuncle and upset Prince Charles.
"Sell it to Richard Branson's Virgin Rail," advises Duncan Bull, "thus ensuring that it arrives late and misses its rendezvous with earth by mega-miles." Norman Foster has a plan to bounce it around to create reservoirs and amphitheatres. Rick Biddulph wants to use asteroids "to crater diversion from the tedious Clinton saga".
Bruce Birchall has the most practical suggestion: "Fling 10 giant wooden skittles at it, in a triangular formation, and yell STRIKE!" And if that doesn't work, he recommends giving Geoffrey Boycott a suitably sized bat and telling him to play forward defensive against it.
Chambers Dictionary prizes to: Mike Gifford, Carla Jamison and Bruce Birchall. Next week, we shall be fiddling around with Rubik's Cube, after which we shall be looking for unusual things to do with hyphens. All-ideas- welcome-at: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.Reuse content