Others think us weirdBy Steve Estes
I am one of those people who believe that we are not alone in the universe.
The odds that our planet, of the billions that are out there, was the only one where chance hit all the right markers over tens of thousands of years, are so miniscule that even the greatest long-shot player in history wouldn’t book the bet.
I am also one of those who believes that the races out there that are eons older than us, have probably been in our neighborhood a time or two, and have thus far written us off as unworthy of inclusion in the galactic community.
Our star is a relatively young whipper-snapper in the grand scheme of the cosmos, separated as we are from the initial point of the original bang, and with star systems far older than we, and the chance that none of them developed sentient life being slim and none, it stands to reason that we are still at the kid’s table for Thanksgiving waiting for that all-important invite to the big house for adult dinner.
But then, thinks I, if there are other, older races that have spent a little time hovering around the periphery of our world, what must they think of some of our truly bizarre customs?
Say for instance that sentient beings from a galaxy next door to us in the cosmos scheme of things, took a romp our way, you know, just a jaunt through the rural back roads of the universe looking for a really cool place to park and get some snuggle time with significant other sentient beings. And say for instance those sentient beings happened to decide to eavesdrop on what is happening on the surface of that M-class star with the pretty blue aura circling that youngish star off in the distance.
And say for instance, that the listening/watching party extends for three or four of our months, and starts in October.
Then what would they think of a culture, for we are all the same species, with distinct racial and cultural differences—to us, that spends hours celebrating the art of giving frontal lobotomies to inanimate pumpkins and putting them on display?
And as they watch, we dress up in costumes that make us something else, and traipse from place to place where others like us have spent hours carefully carving the sustenance out of that poor pumpkin and placing it on display for others like us.
Would they think us ghouls? Would they think us aberrant? Would they think us just a little too unsophisticated to join their decidedly more enlightened societies?
Or would they consider us atrocities for performing such cruel acts on a defenseless pumpkin?
I would hope they wouldn’t consider us brethren. But I would hope they have a sense of humor.
And if they stick around for the next holiday, they would have watched us spend an inordinate amount of money and time fattening up our winged brethren of the turkey variety, and perhaps they think that we have changed our terrorist ways.
Only to watch in horror as we then round up the never-done-wrong-to-a-human bird and proceed in some fashion, be it cleaver, saw, ax or bare hands, to separate the feathered creature from its head, after which we not-so-gently separate the feathers from the rest of the bird, tear its gizzards from its inside and proceed to inject it with liquor, butter, spices or many other insidious substances before we toss it in a fryer, bake it in an oven, grill it over an open flame, broil it or in any other way cook the flesh into succulent tenderness.
Oh, and before we do all that, we mix up a wet batch of some type of stuffing and cram it up the bird’s backside. Insult to injury that is.
The day after we gorge ourselves on turkey, sometimes the day of, our guests watch as we descend en masse on local retailers, all but batter down the doors, tromp over one another, scream at anyone within earshot, act like football linebackers turned loose on an unsuspecting crowd and spend something called money, usually more than we have, to load up on mostly unnecessary items that we then proceed to hide from view behind brightly colored paper and chuck under a life-giving tree that we have viciously chopped down just for the occasion.
Days later, our guests may begin to wonder just how sane we are as a horde of red-suited fat dudes wander the countryside talking to children and soliciting money.
I can hear the conversations from our unseen guests in my slightly warped brain.
“There is something really disturbing about these peoples who perform unspeakable acts on other creatures, and sometimes themselves.”
“Yes, in polite parlance, we would call them sickos.”
And then I would suspect that our more mature sentient beings from somewhere we can only dream exists would pack up their stuff and return to where ever it is they came from, issuing a warning to all other sentient beings with whom they have contact that we are not yet a species ready for inclusion in galactic society.
And, unfortunately, I think they might be right.
But that still doesn’t take the fun out of doing creative frontal lobotomies on pumpkins, or carving up a perfect Thanksgiving turkey, or even releasing pent-up frustrations whacking down that perfect Christmas tree.
And if that makes me undeserving of inclusion in polite galactic society for another 12 or 13 centuries, I’m OK with that.