Friend 1: Did you see what’s trending lately?
Friend 2: The latest Astro Conflicts movie?
Friend 1: No, the thing about the Winter Solstice.
Friend 2: No. Wasn’t that last week? We’re not even in the new year yet and I can’t wait until we get back those hours of sunlight, just in time for it to swing back all over again.
Friend 1: Well, you’re going to have to keep on waiting: look what’s happening. (Holds up laptop to show story)
Friend 2: (Reads from screen) “Disturbingly, the Earth is continuing to tilt away from the Sun instead of doing its usual reversal of course this time of year. Scientists around the world can find no explanation for this behavior and are finally resorting to the ‘Wages of Sin’ theory that they have held out so long against. In the meantime, residents of the Northern Hemisphere should expect to go on losing a minute of sunlight each day and vice versa for the Southern Hemisphere until the Earth eventually turns upside-down from its original position, reversing the magnetic poles, crashing the tectonic plates into each other, disrupting the magnetic field, and imploding the planet’s core (that last one remains to be verified). In all events, for at least the next six months expect your Internet and phone service to be spotty at best.” Is this for real?
Friend 1: Darn tootin’ it’s for real. I knew something was wrong the moment I didn’t feel the Earth shudder as it reversed its tilt this time.
Friend 2: Nobody ever feels that; you’re a liar.
Friend 1: But see! We are still tilting backwards!
Friend 2: Says who, this bot that spits out random non-news so you’ll click on the ads? Why hasn’t any source that is actually legitimate reported on this yet if it’s true?
Friend 1: Are you serious? Do you know the global panic that would ensue if this story was broadcast on platforms that people actually paid attention to?!
Friend 2: I doubt that would happen – no one’s felt the effects they’re predicting yet, so it’ll just be business as usual `til the lights go out.
Friend 1: Exactly! Everything will be topsy-turvy for reals! Not only will our half of the Earth be in perpetual darkness and the other half in perpetual light until we eventually switch, but you just know all our electronic stuff’s gonna get all kinds of messed up! Along with the devices that are, you know, literally keeping people alive.
Friend 2: Maybe.
Friend 1: Maybe?! And what about our orbit, hm? How are we supposed to be travelling our nice ellipsis around the Sun in an orderly fashion if our tilts and spins suddenly turn into wibbilies and wobbilies?!
Friend 2: Well –
Friend 1: And the Moon! The poor thing won’t know which side to face or where go or what to do that it might finally crash into us once and for all!
Friend 2: Well –
Friend 1: Oh no! (Holds arms out to keep still) I feel it! I feel the tilting back too far! It’s not stopping! Our gravitational field is failing at last, help!
Friend 2: Are you done?
Friend 1: (Drops arms) Never.
Friend 2: If everything you mentioned actually does happen, then there’s nothing we can do about it: we don’t have the technology to evacuate the planet and we’d all be doomed, so no point in worrying about something you can’t change. At most, get extra door locks, supplies, and a weapon or two to ward off the inevitable looting, and once that blows over enjoy the free time by coming to peace with your life until the end arrives.
Friend 1: You’re taking a potential global catastrophe rather calmly.
Friend 2: It’s the same plan I have for all world-ending events: Y2K, zombie uprising, world-wide flooding, the descent into apathy. Best just to ride these things out.