The truth is out of this world
I was sitting in the backyard, listening to the Royals losing again, taking a break from chores and waiting for the fireflies. Here came a little green man.
Of all the cliches in science fiction and pop culture, we actually got that one right? What are the odds?
“I hear you don't believe in me,” he said.
“No. Neither you nor Sasquatch nor other such nonsense. Nessie – maybe. There's decent evidence. The science is vaguely plausible. But, no, I don't believe in any of that stuff.”
“Yet here I stand,” he said.
“That is vexing, I must admit.”
“You know, your own government says things – let's call them objects – zip around your planet's atmosphere and cannot be explained, but they are alien, at least in the strictest sense.”
“Yeah. I've pretty much tuned out that whole conversation these last few weeks.”
“Why?” asked LGM. “It's all over the news and what your species calls social media.”
“Why do I ignore it? Because it's silly. Plus, social media buzz validates nothing. Government reports aren't a lot better.”
“Nonetheless, I'm here for a reason. We have chosen to deliver a message to you. Pass it along.”
“Of seven billion people on Earth, why ever would you choose an aching and aging, distressed and depressed Midwesterner? That is to say, why me?”
“You're perfect. Your very skepticism is an asset. No messy confirmation bias and all that. You have a clear-eyed view of something about which this conversation proves you are spectacularly wrong.”
“Whatever. What is the message, LGM?”
“It's simple: Nice planet you've got here. But your dominant species needs work and is far less advanced and fascinating than it thinks it is. We have reviewed your file extensively and have a suggestion. You have various creeds, beliefs and value systems that are great on paper. Try actually putting one or more into effect. Treat each other better. Stop killing the planet. Try some humility. Need I go on?”
“No, I hear you – despite the fact that you're not real. I'll happily pass along your message and fully expect to live out my days mocked by my fellow humans. But surely you must know that this very message has been delivered before, to no avail.”
“Do try. We'll check back in a millennium or two.”
“But I'll be dead by then.”
“Dude, you're not that important.”
A firefly flickered, and we shared an awkward silence.
“OK, that's fair,” I said. “Do I get anything for playing along?”
“Geez, you self-centered humans and your materialism. It's always, 'What's in it for me?' and 'Why can't you find someone else?' You folks have got to get past that. Look, just enjoy the sunset. You never know how many more you'll have.”
Jeff Fox is The Examiner's editor. Reach him at 816-350-6365, email@example.com or on Twitter at @FoxEJC.