Spring Sprung Surprise On Timmons
With the dawning of spring earlier this week, I couldn’t wait to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. So I threw on the sweats, laced up the sneakers and hit the trail. Oh man it felt good!
Did I mention it was oh-dark-thirty? Like a lot of us my age, I don’t sleep in anymore. And once the workday starts, it’s too easy to get caught up in putting out fires. Next thing you know, you missed lunch and bing, bang, boom . . . it’s getting dark outside.
After days like that, who has the energy left to go for a walk?
So before the sun comes up, I’m enjoying the fresh air, the quiet and solitude on the trail and a little exercise.
Except not on this day.
Just as I got to the darkest stretch of the trail, everything lit up like the giant spotlights car dealers used to use back in the ‘60s. I didn’t hear anything unusual – but quickly realized James Taylor was singing Carolina on my Mind in my headphones. I yanked the earbuds out and heard or maybe felt a deep, deep bass that shook my whole body. Before I could take another step, a sort of fuzzy, sparkling beam of light appeared on the trail. Slowly, an alien creature materialized in the beam.
I rubbed my eyes. Had I fallen and hit my head? Was I really on the trail, or still snug in my bed and dreaming the kind of weird dream caused by eating those leftover hot dogs (they weren’t THAT old, were they?) last night?
No, the alien was standing there. It had long and spindly appendages and an oversized head with very large, dark eyes. If there was a mouth, it was hidden. When the alien spoke, I did not see his lips move, but rather “heard” it in my head.
“Do you want me to take you to our leader?” I asked.
“You must be joking,” it said. “We’ve aren’t experts on your world, but we’ve seen enough to know there’s no point in wasting time.”
Obviously, an advanced alien race.
“Uh, then what is it you want?” I asked – not sure whether to be excited or terrified.
“Not much, actually,” it replied. “We were – what’s your expression – just passing through and thought we’d use this opportunity to verify some of our data.”
Relief. At least they weren’t looking to collect specimens.
“Think of us like census takers. We just want to ask a few questions and then we’ll be on our way.”
“Sounds fine to me,” I said. “How can I help?”
“Well, we have the basics covered,” he said. “Your planet is made up of two sexes and-”
“Uh, hang on,” I said.
“There’s some dispute on that,” I said.
“Dispute? How can there be dispute? It’s pretty basic biology, isn’t it?”
“Above my pay grade,” I said.
He wrote something down.
“Fine. Well, your planet isn’t much different from many others in that the female tends to be the smartest. We saw that you recently had a week devoted to women and one of them was named the International Woman of Courage. Can we talk to her?”
“Uh, I guess,” I said. “But she’s not really uh, well, a she.”
The large eyes blinked.
“She’s a guy in a dress,” I tried to explain . . . clumsily. The noise he made sounded an awful lot like the same sigh I hear from my wife when I’m trying to explain why I can’t do some household chore.
“OK, then. Let’s talk about the countries on your planet. Each country is a sovereign nation and protects its citizens from intruders that-”
“Hold on again,” I said.
“Our country used to have a way to allow immigrants in, but now they just come in whenever they please.”
“But how do you ensure you have enough resources for everyone?”
“Uh, again, above-” “Yeah I know, above your pay grade.”
These guys are really smart.
“OK, one last question then. As far as your family units – the maternal and paternal units are responsible in all aspects for the offspring and-”
“Uh . . . “
The alien looked unsettled.
“Well, there’s some debate in the Legislature about whether the government or the parents should-”
“You know what, never mind,” my new alien friend huffed. “You guys aren’t evolving. You’re squabbling like neporoids.”
“Neporoids?” I asked.
“They’re a world a few galaxies over who’ve decided they never want to grow up. All they do is argue. We’ll come back and check on you later to see if you figured it out. A lot later.”
Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Wednesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at [email protected]