Memory Lane: Playground Chatter

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The planet Mars–without the scary clouds

Do people have an inborn compulsion to believe things that make no sense at all?

I remember a day at school, in the playground, with a rumor that had the whole fourth grade buzzing. It came in two parts.

*One: The government had a secret plan (which somehow all these kids found out about) to blow up several atomic bombs on the moon… just to see what would happen.

*Two: Every time they talked about this plan, “two dubular clouds appeared on Mars.” Because of this the plan was canceled.

Not one of us had even the foggiest idea what a “dubular cloud” was, but we all believed the rumor and found it rather disconcerting. I was sure I’d Heard It On The News! and it was therefor true. The Martians were out to get us, just like in the movies. Who knew what they were up to, out there on the dark side of the moon?

The scare died away when nothing happened. I don’t remember what new foolishness replaced it. Nor can I remember how I first heard of dubular clouds. But I never heard of them again.

I’m not prepared to say the news has become any more reliable since then. That goes for its viewers, too.