The mysterious boom

Something strange happened in my town on New Year's Eve. But this unsolved mystery provided a valuable lesson.

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On New Year’s Eve, something strange happened in my town. Before the clock struck midnight, a thunderous boom rocked the eardrums of Delta residents. The concussion of this sound was strong enough to knock pictures off of walls, set off car alarms, and cause everybody at the local Taco Bell to suspiciously glance at one another.

“What the heck was that big boom?” a friend posted on our local Facebook message board. The ensuing thread — which now has close to 300 comments — enumerated every possible conclusion. Was it an alien spaceship crash landing? Was it a fireworks gone wrong? Was it a homemade bazooka? Are we being attacked by Russia again? To this day, we really don’t know.

The mystery carried on for weeks.

The enigmatic sound even received coverage by several regional news stations who ran the story on — what I assume to be — “slow news” days. (Trump must not have tweeted anything that day.) News agencies deployed their “experts” to start whittling down the number of possibilities. These wonks eliminated a number of potential causes.

Earthquake? No seismic activity detected.

Frost quake. Meteorologists said “nuh-uh.”

Illumanti? Not available for comment.

So what do I think it was? I hesitate in providing my own theory, because my version of events reveals how truly lame I am. The younger version of me would normally be imbibing in the traditional spirits of this evening. Instead, I was in bed fast asleep. Coloradoans like me who struggle staying awake late at night have developed the New Year routine of cracking open champagne as the ball drops in New York — giving them a two-hour head start. I’m not certain that I was even awake when London celebrated.

I awoke the next day to the tales of — what everybody was calling it — the “mystery boom,” which was coincidentally the same term my potty-training toddler used to describe what was in his pants that morning.

When hearing about this inexplicable noise after the fact, my first instinct was similar to those on that initial Facebook thread: internet sleuthing. There is no shortage of digital rabbit holes to explore when attempting to get to the bottom of the inexplicable phenomena. My web-based research steered me toward the obvious conclusion that it had something to do with Hillary Clinton’s emails.

But then I realized the mystery boom was a decent teachable moment. While everybody was so concerned about what caused the boom, nobody seemed to be asking what did the result of the boom?

Was anybody hurt, injured, or killed? As of this moment, no bodies have been found, nor has somebody with missing appendages crawled to the hospital to make a bad Monty Python joke about his “flesh wound.”

Was property damaged? Thus far, nobody has reported any damage to their homes, vehicles, or drug laboratories. Plus, if they did something that damaged their own property, do you think that they would actually report it? I have a hard time imaging somebody reporting to the police that his meth lab spontaneously disappeared.

If no to all of the above, the default position should be the same one my middle-school basketball coach taught me: “no blood, no foul.” Simply put, if no harm to body and property occurred, then there’s no point in stopping the game.

Sure, it is fun to hypothesize and speculate. But, at the end of the day, if some event had no direct impact on the life and/or limbs of you or a loved one, then it’s none of your damn business what happened. No amount of rubber-necking, busy-bodying, or nanny-stating will lend a better understanding of what exactly transpired that mysterious New Years Eve.

Now, if you don’t mind, can you please keep it down out there? I’m trying to sleep. It’s midnight somewhere, right?