The other day I was sitting in an office. Everything I could see had been made in a factory except a) my hands poking out from my sleeves and b) those funny bits of the side of your nose you can see, one side from each eye.
Also c), Vinod Krishnan. He had a theory he wanted to run by me.
"So I saw this YouTube video the other day," he said, "and this retired Canadian politician said there are extraterrestrials living among us. That's right: extraterrestrials. So I was wondering what the percentage was and how would we know?"
I looked at him.
"I mean," he said, "do you think it's 1%? 10%? 50%?"
I looked at him some more.
"And THEN," he said, "I wondered if that's what's driving the increase in fossil fuel use. THAT could be what's behind global warming &c."
We looked at each other for a little bit more. Neither of us had been made in factories - no! We'd been made in the crucible of LIFE. I gave him my best let's-just-weigh-up-your-theory-about-extraterrestrials face.
I said, "Can I be blunt? Conspiracy theories bug me. They're an obsession with trying to see behind the veil of things, while the world is being stolen from under us in broad daylight. This place we live is being carved up and poisoned and instead these guys want to search for documents about 9/11 or chemtrails or lizard people or whatnot. You know what I think conspiracy theories are? Displaced environmental grief. We're killing the thing we live in and it's horrible to know that and we don't want to know that so we look somewhere else. You don't need aliens to explain climate change, just us and some bad decisions."
"It can't be us." he said. "I'm a simple man, but even I know you don't shit where you eat. IT CAN'T BE HUMANS."
"Sure it can," I said. I was four billion years old and so was he and so are you, so I can speak frankly. Us four billion year olds hafta stick together. "Humans are open-ended. You can turn yourself into a Buddha or Hitler and there's nothing inherent in us that stops that. We're capable of huge evil. Look at the Holocaust: that was all just humans. But being human we're also not condemned to evil and stupidity. We can do something else if we want."
That settled, we moved on to talk about whether mushrooms are aliens or not.
2. NOW I'M SITTING
Now I'm sitting in another office, again with Vin, showing him this story. He's laughing- oh wait, he's pulling out his phone.
"I hafta be somewhere!" I say and he's all, "Nononono, you hafta see this!" and I'm all "No, it's BECAUSE of what you're about to do that I hafta be somewhere else."
"Yeah yeah yeah," he says, and then it's all "Aliens this!" and "Aliens that!" and "Maybe we're looking in the wrong place, i.e. outer space, and maybe ALIENS ARE ACTUALLY INSIDE US."
"Dude," I say. "What do you think the word 'alien' even means?"
"Exactly," he says. "Ex-act-ly."
3. AS SOON AS I HAVE TYPED THIS I WILL OPEN A DOOR WHICH WAS ALSO MADE IN A FACTORY AND THAT WILL BE THE END
Wednesday, May 14, 2014