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Look for the person with the clipboard

Have you ever arrived at an event (a concert, a sportsball contest, a poetry jam) and you weren’t sure where to go to find your seat?

What do we all do? We look for the person holding the clipboard. It’s an old journalism truism: If you have a question find the person holding the clipboard.

You have probably read about the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) landing an unmanned space craft on an asteroid so they can blow it up.

I’m sure there was a lot of planning going into this mission to find particles of rocks and whatnot that will help scientists study the origins of things — like Earth.

But like everything else, all big decisions are made by the person carrying the clipboard.

So, when I read that JAXA was going to blow a crater in an asteroid I had to wonder what the person with the clipboard was thinking.

First of all, what fun is that? Unless they plan on showing it live it’s kinda boring. The day after they put a hole in the asteroid is some person going to pop up on Japanese television and tell everyone, “Hey, we just blew up a chunk of asteroid and now we have a lot of little rocks to bring home. Sorry I interrupted ‘Hello Kitty!’ but I had to let you know. I’m carrying the clipboard.”

No! We want to see the explosion. We want to see asteroid debris flying past the camera at 14 zillion miles an hour. We want to see the destruction.

Not somebody telling us they have a bunch of little rocks from an asteroid.

Why do you think they film buildings being blown up? Beacuse it looks soooooo cool!

Secondly, and most importantly, what are these people in Japan doing wasting explosives?

It’s Japan. Did the person holding the clipboard forget about Godzilla?

Oh sure, you think the big lizard is dead and then he pops back up again to step on buildings and cars and crush all sorts of things and everyone is running around gathering explosives and bombs — because that’s how you beat Godzilla — and then someone realizes, “We don’t have enough explosives! We just need a little, maybe enough to blow a hole in an asteroid, but we’re out. Our little island nation is doomed!”

I’m just saying, you have to think these things through.

And then the person who was holding the clipboard and made the decision to send explosives into space to blow a hole in an asteroid … Well, that person is going to be the first one locked out of the building when everyone has to hide in the basement from Godzilla.

I know how these things work and it’ll get ugly.

“Who’s idea was it to give that person the clipboard?” someone will ask.

And then the blame game starts and that person is locked outside with the clipboard holder and then someone else will ask, “Who put that person in charge of deciding who held the clipboard?”

And on and on.

But there’s a lot of pressure to be the first space agency to bring back pieces of rock from an asteroid. I read that, too.

Even NASA is in the mix. There’s a person holding a clipboard in Houston right now waiting to be asked if NASA can send up a rocket and blow up a piece of asteroid.

Of course, the NASA person will have to consider what happened to Bruce Willis, and also Robert Duvall and his whole crew of NASA people, as well as Clint and Tommy and those other older guys in that one movie.

It being an unmanned spacecraft there won’t be any heartfelt and tearful goodbye speeches, unless “Whirr, beep, whirr, beep,” means a lot more than I think it means.

The NASA person won’t have to worry about Godzilla though, so I guess that’s a point in NASA’s favor.

And NASA is American, so you know there are plenty of explosives. Plus, you know the good ole USA will sure as heck show that explosion when NASA decides to blow up a piece of asteroid.

I understand the person holding the clipboard is getting a little antsy though. The last time anyone asked a question it was, “When does the tour start?”