Allegan County News & Union Enterprise Columns Commercial Record Courier-Leader & Flashes

Life as Performance Art

    I am delighted to see that some of our elected officials have decided to spend at least part of their summer vacation time holding hearings to investigate UFOs – Unidentified Flying Objects. They are hard at work, and I appreciate it since we write their salary and benefits checks.  I especially like it, because as long as they keep themselves busy with this topic, they can’t find any new taxes to foist upon us, a new hot spot in the world where we are going to send our military or come up with more regulations and “guidance” to eradicate our freedoms.  Studying UFOs is a great way to keep boys and girls occupied. Not only will this topic keep them occupied, but they can burn off some of their excess anxiety and anger without saying snarky things about their opponents. As a bonus, it gives all of the ‘experts’ a forum which, if they are smart, they will convert into a short-lived television series or some books.
     We went through this phase some 60 years ago, complete with UFOs in the sky, aliens landing here on earth, alien abductions, and all the conversations about Roswell, New Mexico and the myths of Area Fifty-One.  Many of the same themes circulated through the centuries. For a while it came to an end when church leaders began debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
      The last time around, about fifty years ago, a classmate and I decided to have a bit of fun. We got some clear thin plastic garment bags from the woman who ran a dry-cleaning business, spray painted some reflective paint on them, and filled them with hot air. 
     A little before sunset we released them, and it wasn’t long before the amateur radio club members, all bored because there were no thunderstorms or tornados for them to watch, were calling in their UFO sightings.  The news got into the local paper, and before long it was in the two big state papers – the Minneapolis Tribune and the St Paul Pioneer Press.  From there it was a hop, skip, and jump to the Paul Harvey radio news and commentary, and the evening television news. Suffice it to note that the Mayo Clinic did not like the prattle about UFOs hovering around their buildings.
     Our effort to stir things up came to an end when Mrs. Bonesteel at the dry-cleaners got wise to us and wouldn’t sell, much less give us, any more bags.  After a while, everyone seemed to lose interest in it until President Carter solemnly said he had seen a UFO.  That’s when we decided that enough was enough. I think it led to his defeat at the next election, but don’t quote me on that one.
      The UFO craze has always been with us, although usually (pardon the pun) under the radar.  Remember all those tabloid newspapers at the supermarket check-out line?  Often as not, they had lurid cover stories of aliens being spotted in rural Ruratania, or some quack doctor on the other side of the Iron Curtain spilled the beans about alien flying machines flying in and out of the Kremlin.  Have you ever noticed that these UFOs and assorted aliens turn up in very remote places, and to people who can never be interviewed by more legitimate media?  Maybe we will become true believers if one lands at the Allegan County Fair right during a grandstand show, but until then….?
     Right now, the tabloids are busy revealing all the scandals about our politicians and celebrities, but before long you can be sure they’ll find some fiction writers to tell more tales of aliens. A good headline might be “Space Alien tries sardines for the first time. Likes it.”
     UFOs and space aliens have migrated to cable television, especially on the History channel.  As an aside, I think that name for the channel is a bit deceiving, don’t you?  They have an endless series of programs on ancient aliens that have been hanging around for thousands of years.  Life on their home planet must have been so boring for them they had to come all the way here to build the Pyramids and do other work.  Or the over-the-top series about Skinwalker Ranch.  If you haven’t seen it, commit yourself to no more than the segment until the first commercial, then turn off the television.  You will learn everything you need to know about the program.
     My guess is that our poorly paid, hardly working, elected office holders are jealous.  They want something a little more exciting than a hot muggy summer in Washington DC.  Better a fact-finding mission to the Skinwalker Ranch than having to serve as a judge at the Prettiest Pig contest at a county fair in their district. Even if they already know it is a big waste of money, a ticket to a UFO hotspot is just thing for them.  In turn, we get the bonus of hearing them justifying the expense during their next campaign. It’s a double bonus if they get abducted before the next election.
     So, let’s just say that I am skeptical of UFOs and visiting aliens or some sort of mysterious orbs of light that can be conjured up by just thinking about them.  That is what professional house-builder Chris Bledsoe says he can do.  “I just think about them and they come to me,” he told Jesse Watters of Primetime in July.  He got an additional bit of fame and television coverage on the Skinwalker Ranch program, and Congress is looking into him.  Maybe he’ll be served a subpoena so he can be investigated even more intensely.
     There is no end to theories as to why UFOs are here.  That is, if they really are here and it is not a figment of our mass hysteria. One fellow suggested that they want to share their technology with us so we can fly off to another planet once this one burns to a crisp.  No thank you.  If I can’t be guaranteed a life-time supply of French roast coffee, plus some very stinky blue cheese, I am not interested.  Maybe if they offer snickerdoodles, we’ll talk,  but otherwise I’ll take my chances.

Leave a Reply