Let me begin by saying I am not a rich man. I own no iPhone or iPod, nor do I subscribe to satellite radio. I do have a 12-disc CD changer in the trunk of my car, but thanks to the multitude of items I keep in there, a sharp turn causes something to collide against the changer, ensuring skippage beyond belief.
That said, I do listen to the radio constantly. As it is now officially the holiday season, countless ads have sprung up, urging me to purchase this thing or subscribe to this weight-loss trial after “gaining those winter pounds”.
I can handle nearly all of the bombardment of advertising that is thrown my direction. Nearly all, except one.
The International Star Registry.
For those unfamiliar with the Registry, it is a company where you send them money and in return, they name a star after you or a loved one. You have three choices: The Custom ($54), the Deluxe ($104.95), and the ULTIMATE ($154.95). Plus shipping and handling, of course. Along with having the star named after you, the Registry sends along a handy dandy star chart with the area circled in red where “your” star is located.
All this circumstance, of course, is a huge load of bullshit.
To begin with, let’s look at the gift from an astronomical point of view. Anyone who was able to stay awake during high school science knows that the stars dotting our night sky are in fact ages old, and more than likely have already collapsed in the cold, cold void of space. The reason we still see the light, of course, is because the speed of the light emnating from the once-thriving star is just now entering our line of sight. “Merry Christmas, honey! I named a dark void of space after you!”…Spare me.
It gets even better. After naming the star, that’s it. That name is not recognized by anyone, including the company itself. All that name becomes is another entry in their database. NASA doesn’t give a damn if you named one of the stars in the Orion constellation after your new baby. The only thing that $54-$154.95 gets you is a piece of paper with some coordinates that unless you’re handy with some amateur astronomy, look like a clusterfuck of numbers; it also gets the name written in the Registry’s Your Place in the Cosmos, a book written by them detailing the names of every star that has been “adopted,” since you don’t own the star. And it’s yours for the low, low price of $44.95. It’s a “Who’s Who” book where you pay a nominal fee to get included, then you pay another ungodly amount of money just to see your damn name in there in the first place.
Alright, let’s take a breath here. I’m sure the loyal readers of MoB already have sore necks from nodding so often in agreement with my cynicism. But who knows, there could be a new person reading this blog, thinking to themselves “Well, it’s not a horrible idea, is it? I mean, sure it’s not official or anything, but I think it’d be pretty neat to have a star named after me!”
You poor, misguided person.
In order to fully flesh out this strongly-opinionated essay, I decided it was necessary to log onto the Registry’s website. My optimism moved me to hope that perhaps this Registry was not entirely the work of some cunning asshole with a telescope and working knowledge of star charts. Browsing their catalog, I found they had more than just stars for sale. Star ornaments and pendants were for sale, all with the promise of having your name engraved in there, along with your star coordinates. This leads me to believe that in order to purchase either the ornament or pendant, you first have to name a star. Your money would be better used if you took a lighter to it and then threw yourself atop the flaming wads of cash.
Then something else caught my eye. I have two words for you: Pet Rocks.
Yes, for an additional $19.95 you get three rocks painted to look like animals. How adorable! And how utterly insane that someone would spend $20 on fucking rocks!
In case you didn’t follow…That’s rocks…from the ground…painted to look like animals…for twenty…fucking…dollars.
So go ahead. Name a star after your significant other. Unless you enjoy getting to know them in the Biblical sense. Then I would suggest maybe going with a nice necklace or drill set.
Although, if your lover is an astronomy nerd, who knows? Maybe then she or he will finally be willing to try that thing you always wanted to do ever since you saw it on late-night Cinemax.