Every time a news story materializes in which an asteroid may or may not make contact with Earth, my friends and colleagues and I all make the same joke. “Ha ha, asteroid take me now!” we giggle in our respective group chats. “Please, asteroid, hit me zaddy,” we chuckle. “I can’t wait until the asteroid absolutely destroys every inch of this Earth, lmao” I whisper, typing each letter in along with a handful of “crying but laughing” emojis, my sweaty hands like a vice grip on my iPhone, my eyeballs two dilated saucers of pitch-black madness.
I’m just joking, though. We’re all just joking. But truthfully, I can no longer remember a time when I wasn’t casually talking to people about how much we all wanted an asteroid to take us, now. “I want a lobotomy,” a friend will joke, and I’ll casually agree with a grin on my face, as we both settle in to read about a QAnon conspiracy theory seemingly every child on TikTok aged 13 to 19 is gobbling up like popcorn. “When are the aliens taking me?” I’ll say to nobody, scrolling through my horrible Internet feed that nobody is forcing me to looking at.
There are, in my mind, only three moods now: “lobotomy please,” “asteroid take me now,” and “I hope I get abducted by aliens.” Every once in a while there is also “walk into the sea,” if you are feeling festive. It’s not, again, that I feel these things earnestly (could you imagine!) but that I feel disturbingly comfortable with expressing these thoughts out loud these days as casually as I could say “can you pass me the salt?” I am absolutely, totally joking, but the frequency in which my conversations these days swerve into absolutely morbid joke territory to express my general feelings of fear are not unlike the familiar cues of a well-worn comedy sitcom. “I can’t wait for the aliens to kidnap me!” I scream at the end of a wretched day, cackling, slamming the door shut on a conversation like Kramer exiting Jerry’s apartment on an episode of Seinfeld, my friends’ agreement as studio applause.