I came home from my book club the other night to find my husband watching, quite possible, the dumbest television show ever. I’ve seen every version of the Real Housewives franchise, so I know from dumb television. He was watching Ancient Aliens on the History Channel. In this ridiculous series, proponents of ancient astronaut theory (!) give examples as to how they can prove that aliens have been buzzing our proverbial flight tower for millennia. They cite references to the journal of Christopher Columbus, where he wrote that he saw strange lights in the sky while sailing. DUN Dun dun. Why mention it if it wasn’t important, they wondered. Well, it probably scared the shit out of him, that’s why! The video of the meteor careening across the Midwest back in April scared the shit out of me – and I knew what it was! Back in 1492, you couldn’t just Google it and find thousand of camera phone clips to determine what you saw. But, you see, he was sailing through the Bermuda Triangle at the time of the sighting. Dun Dun Dun! An area that has been so thoroughly debunked of being mysterious that even Oceanic Flight 815 managed to miss it. So, unless Columbus also recorded the score of Close Encounters note for note in his journal along with the sighting, I’m not buying.
On another episode, the topic is Nazi Germany and aliens. Hitler happened across a UFO in the Black Forest and using reverse engineering, replicated its weaponry and used it on the Allies. Ok, so let’s take this step by step. Hitler stumbled upon an alien craft during what, his morning stroll? Were they blonde, so they were ok? Because, let’s be honest, he wasn’t known as being the most inclusive and welcoming of people. And then, using the technology of the era, he figured out how to replicate its weaponry? I’m not sure 1940 technology could replicate an iPod let alone a “foo fighter.” (Not Dave Grohl). Hmm. That’s quite a mouthful. I’m not sure I can swallow it.
I’m not even going to touch upon why the Pyramid of Giza was probably not a hydrogen power plant. Or why Noah probably wasn’t carrying human DNA on his ark, or even why ancient depictions of flying discs were nothing more than art. However, I am amused by the thought that the Black Plague was created by aliens. Ignoring the obvious, which is that even in our Purell-coated world, the Avian Flu managed to get a toe hold and that 1300s Europe, with its severe lack of basic sanitation, medical care, hygiene, food, and shelter wasn’t exactly a sterile environment, I would like to focus on the obscure. Due to popular belief in witches, cats were slaughtered en masse. No cats, more rats, lots of plague. I’d bet good money that the people currently shouting “Alien!” are descended from the people who were once shouting “Witch!” It’s like a circle of stupidity.
This brings me to my final point. Why are aliens as stupid as the people they abduct? The human race hasn’t managed to send a man past its own moon, yet we are working on decoding the human genome. But aliens, having managed to fly light years, and in stealth and secrecy, descend on a far distant planet can’t seem to figure out that our brains aren’t actually in our butts? Why would any intelligent creature, equipped with enough technology to navigate the Milky Way, continually fly over the most desolate and isolated regions of our country? Broken GPS? Womp rat practice? (I hear there’s a kid who can hit one from two meters.) Why not New York City, Paris, or even Dubai? The Palm Jumeira has to be at least as beautiful at night as say, the Badlands.
Do I believe aliens exist? Well, it’s a really, really big universe. There may even be a restaurant at the end of it. And I’d much rather hope that there are creatures of greater intelligence floating around out there than despair that the average Wal-Mart shopper is the best our entire existence has to offer. But I really don’t want them to stop by anytime soon. If we learned any lesson at all from Christopher Columbus, it was not that aliens exist, but that if they come ashore, it will not end well for the natives.