Sometimes I stare at the night sky and am reminded that there are some hundred billion (10^11) galaxies, each with, on the average, a hundred billion stars. In all the galaxies, there are perhaps as many planets as stars, 10^11 x 10^11 = 10^22, ten billion trillion. In the face of such overpowering numbers, what is the likelihood that only one ordinary star, the Sun, is accompanied by an inhabited planet? Why should we, tucked away in some forgotten corner of the Cosmos, be so fortunate? To me, it seems far more likely that the universe is brimming over with life. But we humans do not yet know. We are just beginning our explorations. The only planet we are sure is inhabited is a tiny speck of rock and metal, shining feebly by reflected sunlight, and at this distance utterly lost.
And as I stand there pondering that fact, I am reminded of what my grandfather used to say when I would point at a shooting star and say make a wish;
I wish assholes would stop pointing at any old light in the sky and say wish upon a star. The star is dead. Just like their dreams.
Or that one time that it did actually did snow in Ireland and we were all super excited because school was cancelled.
‘Grandad, granddad, look it’s snow,’ I squealed excitedly.
‘I wouldn’t get that excited, son,’ he replied. ‘Snow is like pussy, it’s fun to play with, you never know when it is going to come and only some of it is good enough to eat.’