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Shy UFos

It may just be a coincidence, but has anyone else noticed that all of those pesky UFOs stopped coming around at about the same time cell phones with built-in cameras came out.

The aliens piloting those flying saucers had no problem zipping around over small country towns and zapping an occasional cow back when all we had were 35mm cameras where you had to take the roll of film to CVS and wait for it to be developed before you could show the photos to the kinfolk.

Even Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster seem to have gone on an extended sabbatical now that just about every person on the planet is an amateur photographer/videographer courtesy of smartphones.

Those cell phone cameras have put an end to a lot of juicy conspiracy debates. No more crop circles. No more levitating, demon-possessed Christians. No more grassy knolls. Imagine if JFK had tooled through Dealey Plaza in that convertible limo today. No one would know who the hell Zapruder is because there would be a thousand photos and video clips of the assassination. And we would once and for all have an answer to that burning question of whether or not Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman. Or, to be more specific, the answer to whether Oswald was able to fire three shots in seven seconds from a tiny window on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository and hit Kennedy with two of those shots, one in the neck and one in the head, as he traveled in a moving car more than 100 yards away. And that answer both then and now, of course, would be, “No fucking way.”

When I was a youngster I went on a weekend camping trip with my aunt and uncle and their three kids in upstate Maine. One night when I was walking alone through the woods near our cabin, I saw a flying saucer with multi-colored flashing lights just above tree level, and that flying object shot out a steel blue beam of light that hit me and sucked me up into the saucer where some scaly, one-eyed aliens did a rectal probe on me and then shot me back down to earth. Not!

What did happen on that camping trip was that my aunt and uncle had cocktails with the couple in the next cabin, and the husband, after his fair share of Harvey Wallbangers, told my aunt and uncle all about UFOs, about how prevalent they were, about how the government was covering up their existence, about how they were abducting people, and about how one day they would take over the earth. He whispered all his warnings so that us kids sitting at the picnic table would not hear him and be frightened, but I heard every word and it scared the shit out of me. I had nightmares for weeks.

Kids are susceptible that way. When I was five years old I was watching TV with my parents when a news bulletin came on about a plane that had just crashed into a residential subdivision, leveling dozens of houses and killing lots of people. The next morning when my Mom came to my bedroom to wake me up for kindergarten she saw a small pile of my clothes neatly folded and stacked next to the door.

“What’s that for?” she asked me.

“For when the plane crashes into our house,” I said.

My Mom started crying.

Eventually, when I got older, I realized the chances of an American Airlines 747 dropping out of the sky onto my house on Shady Grove Boulevard were pretty slim. And I realized the chances of a UFO hovering over one of our high school football games and sucking Julie, the head cheerleader, up into its shiny belly were even slimmer.

I had already come to the conclusion it wasn’t a little fairy who was taking the tooth from under my pillow and replacing it with a shiny new quarter. It was Mom.

And it wasn’t a giant bunny leaving that basket of candy and chocolate eggs on my doorstep Easter Day. Mom again.

My guess is if you polled 100 people who believe in extraterrestrial beings and UFOs, none of those people would be an atheist. People who don’t believe there is a magnanimous God sitting on puffy clouds, passing judgement on what you do and waiting to greet you at the Pearly gates when you die, are also not very likely to believe in little green aliens.

Atheists are big on proof. Faith and hearsay, not so much.

Tell an atheist you saw a UFO, and his response will most likely be, “Oh really. Show me the photo on your iPhone.”

The problem with people who believe in UFOs is not their shortage of common sense but their overabundance of ego. These are the same people who were convinced centuries ago that the sun and the moon and all the stars revolved around the Earth. They still believe Man is the center of the universe, and that if another planet could field a superior race with the capability of space travel, that race would naturally select Earth out of the billions of billions of planets in our universe to come eavesdrop on. Is our tiny planet where we are so hell-bent on destroying every living thing on the planet really going to be at the top of a space alien’s list of must-see travel destinations? Is Earth really the Chucky Cheese of the universe? If it is, they better get here quick, because in a few hundred years all they are going to find here are some cockroaches and crocodiles.

When it comes to logic, what you don’t see can be just as important as what you do see.

Because if those space aliens are smart enough to build flying saucers that can travel at the speed of light through the universe and do all types of aerial acrobatics in the sky above us, why are they not smart enough to build one that has landing gear?

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