They say you are just a dwarf planet; that you are not the largest object beyond Neptune. You were demoted and nearly forgotten. Relegated to a footnote in a science book. A blurry dot in the distant firmament.
I grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona, the town where you were first discovered. I went up the hill to Lowell Observatory and stood in the dome where a 23-year-old Clyde Tombaugh first spotted Planet X on a frigid February night. I looked up at that night sky and wondered what it must’ve felt to lay eyes on a brand new planet. Your discovery was a point of pride for our town.
Over the last 85 years, you’ve taken your knocks. Other dwarf planets pushed you out of the spotlight. Today, you finally got some respect. New Horizons, a spacecraft the size of a grand piano rocketed past you, snapping photos and measuring your chemical composition and atmosphere. And whole world saw you snap into focus. No longer a smudge, but a real place.
You may not be as glamorous as Mars or Jupiter, but now that we’ve seen you close up, maybe everyone will remember you and what you once were. You’ll always be a planet to me, Pluto.
Cosmically yours, Jonny
— 30 —
Jonny Eberle is a former Flagstaffian living in Tacoma, WA. You can find him on Twitter.
You are a man of many faces who has lived many lifetimes. For over a thousand years, you’ve been traveling through time and space in a ship disguised as a blue police box. But I’ve only been following your exploits for the past year or so. I first met you in your Ninth incarnation, when you were guilt-stricken with blood on your hands. It was clear to me that you were a great man, even if you didn’t know it yourself.
You are unlike any hero I have ever known. In our early travels through space and time, you were a guilty man who doubted himself. You saved entire worlds, but preferred to live in the shadows. You brought out the best qualities of your companions. In your eyes, there were no insignificant people. You reminded me to have a brave heart, even when all looked lost.
You are quick on your feet, eccentric, brilliant and unlike so many of the figures of your genre, you’re quick to show mercy. In a violent universe, you refuse to carry a weapon. You face armies with only your wits and a screwdriver. You were exactly the kind of hero I would’ve idolized in my youth.
You and I have something in common — we’ve both been running our entire lives. What you’re on the run from is a mystery, as you madly dash (allons-y!) from adventure to adventure, saving planets from the Daleks or the Cybermen or the Weeping Angels. Like me, you are plagued by demons and tempted by the darker side of your soul, but you refuse to give in. It gives me courage to fight my own darkness.
I don’t know who you are. You are a Time Lord whose name and past are shrouded in the veil of the time vortex and the ancient history of a forsaken world. You are a madman with a box, but you are also me. You are the highest hopes of what humanity could be. You are hope personified, Doctor. And as you and the TARDIS fly off to face the greatest dangers in the universe, that’s something I’ll keep with me, across all of space and time.
— 30 —
Jonny Eberle is a writer, Doctor Who fan and all around Anglophile living in Tacoma, WA. When he isn’t dreaming about the stars, he’s writing about going to them or on Twitter. Thanks for reading!
Despite being thoroughly aware that you’re a fictional character, I must admit I’ve always felt that you and I were kindred spirits. I became a fan of your work shortly after I learned how to read. I don’t know when or where I happened upon that green, leather-bound book with gilded pages containing Dr. Watson’s notes from 19 of your cases, but I cannot underestimate its impact on my life.
Somewhere between the first line of A Scandal in Bohemia and the heart-wrenching final scene in The Final Problem, I decided that I wanted to be you. Being the sidekick or one of the Irregulars wasn’t enough. When my peers wanted to be firefighters or astronauts, I craved the exciting, enigmatic life of a private investigator.
Determined to be my elementary school’s first private consulting detective, I founded my own short-lived agency in the third grade. We only tackled one mystery and to the best of my knowledge, the Case of the Compact Disc Thief remains unsolved.
In my eyes, you were superhuman — the good doctor and I were always in awe of your powers of deduction. You were everything I wanted to be: erudite, unflappable, self-assured with no desire for fame or reward, and perfectly at home in a deerstalker cap. I, too, wanted to fight the criminal underbelly of Victorian London. I wanted to be the person Lestrade came to when the case seemed unsolvable. Above all, I wanted the pipe.
But the thing I found most inspirational about you was your fallibility. More than once, you fell prey to your inner darkness. You lost yourself to addiction, obsession, and depression. Once, I even feared you were dead. Both of us were misfits. You were like me — a human being with human faults. You were my hero because you could be beaten.
A long time ago, you told me that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. I’ve never given up on my quest to discover the truth and I have your advice to thank for it. I may have retired from professional detective work, but I still relish a good mystery and I enjoy my occasional visits to 221B Baker Street.
Thank you for everything, Mr. Holmes. In my youth, few people were as real to me as you. I will forever consider you among the best and wisest men whom I have ever known.
Very sincerely yours, Jonny Eberle
— 30 —
I deduce that you are an intelligent person who is both well-read and tech-savvy. This being the case, you should have no trouble following me on Twitter at @jonnyeberle. See what I did there?You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter to get exclusive content, sneak peeks, and curated reading recommendations delivered straight to your inbox.