Archived Story

‘From nine pizzas to noodles’

Published 6:56pm Monday, January 17, 2011

“My very energetic mother just served us nine pizzas.”

As a child, I remember saying that phrase over and over to help me memorize the order of the planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

But in August 2006, astronomers declared there were new guidelines that downsized the solar system to eight planets, and Pluto no longer made the cut.

Instead, Pluto (which I remember thinking as a child was one of my favorite planets because I assumed it was named after the Disney character) was reclassified into the new category known as “dwarf planets.” The news immediately sparked an outrage from individuals who suddenly decided they didn’t want Pluto to lose its planetary credentials.

A similar outrage erupted last week after news reports surfaced that a naturally occurring wobble in the direction of the Earth’s axis had altered the alignment of the stars, and that traditional astrological signs, which date back several millennia, had almost all shifted.

“According to the report, Capricorn, which astrologers say begins its monthlong term in December, actually starts on Jan. 20, based on the actual position of the stars. Aquarius, meanwhile, would be bumped to February. And so on.” said a New York Times story.

To add to the shock, it was reported that there was now a new sign, named Ophiuchus.

While my sign, Leo, luckily did not change, many others I know got an entirely new sign. And though most rarely even read their horoscope, they weren’t very happy with the news.

Statuses such as “Oh no, I will not accept Cancer” and “Capricorn4Life” popped up all over my Facebook news feed as people worldwide suffered a sudden identity crisis.

In the week since this story broke, numerous conflicting additional stories have been published debating whether the new zodiac signs are accurate.

The truth is, people are attached to their sign, even if they don’t believe in astrology. I am one of them. I identify with the adventurous Leo who survives life’s stormy times with style and humor, but I certainly don’t check my sign every day to see what the stars have aligned for me.

Changing the zodiac signs up on everyone at this point is just silly. The common pick-up line “What’s your sign?” will now receive much more complicated answers, and the last thing we needed was another Pluto-esqe catastrophe emerging from outer space.

I imagine the phrase kids learn to memorize the order of the planets these days is something like “My very energetic mother just served us noodles.”

I wonder if they even realize the mother in this phrase downgraded their meal from nine pizzas to noodles?

Natalie Nettles is a staff writer for The Alexander City Outlook.