In search of extraterrestrial intelligence

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UfoIt’s no secret that I believe in UFOs. I’m completely certain they’ve landed and infiltrated our way of life, especially after spending some time in rural Arkansas. Walmart didn’t originate in Benton, unless that’s a code name for some planet in a universe far, far away. (Kidding, Arkansas! Please don’t shoot me with your ray guns!)

George humors me as much as he can. He probably doesn’t believe in aliens because he is one. The more I watch our 15-year-old son do absolutely bizarre things, the more I know I’ve had a hand in creating a tweener. No human being could actually want to wear skinny jeans; the tweeners wear them to keep their leg tentacles from leaking out. More on that later.

Recently, SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) opened a new program where you can install some of their software on your personal computer, so you can help them listen to outer space for instructions from the mothership. For those of you unfamiliar with SETI, it’s an organization that began in the late ’60s where a whole bunch of people get paid to listen to the sky. Don’t laugh — it’s a real job. If my guidance counselor hadn’t been completely uninformed, I’d probably be doing it right now.

Anyway, it’s expensive to listen to the sky for 40 years, so they’ve contracted the job out to the general public, who are completely OK with listening to the sky for free.

“Oh my gosh, I’m totally downloading this software!”

“Be careful, Powder. You know what happens when you try to put anything on your computer.”

“I’m ignoring the Powder reference. This is SETI software, no way it’s going to install a ‘Free Porn’ website — these people work for NASA.”

“Astronauts have needs, too.”

“Whatever. I’m going to work for SETI.”

“What does SETI do again?”

“They look for abnormal signals and sounds that don’t come from nature out in the universe.”

“Abnormal signals and sounds? Pfft. All they need to do is put a microphone in the truck after you eat boiled eggs.”

“Wow. You’re hilarious today. They’re waiting for ET to phone home so they can wiretap him and funnel information to the CIA about secret weapons stashed with the Lizard People inside of Mt. Rainier.”

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“Unh hunh.”

“Seriously. I’m doing this. The aliens will talk to me for sure. They probably remember me from when I was abducted as a child.”

“As much as that makes so many things about you make sense, I still don’t think you were abducted.”

“Whatever, dude. I told you everyone in the car had missing time — I don’t remember anything between Warner Robins and Atlanta, and that’s a 90-minute trip. We were totally abducted.”

“Didn’t you tell me your mom used to give you Nyquil before long car trips so you’d be quiet?”

“My mom isn’t the issue here.”

“Oh, but I think she is. On so many levels.”

“Don’t be an ass. My mother is a saint.”

“I don’t disagree. I love your mom, she’s salt of the earth. I’m just saying you were five and she probably gave you Nyquil so she wouldn’t have to listen to you talk for a hundred miles. As a matter of fact, I think I have some in my travel bag. Why don’t you take a slug and go lay down?”

“Oh ha ha, funny man. You really missed your calling.”

“You think I should have been a comedian? “

“If by comedian you mean King of the Assholes, then yes.”

“You know why there’s a little plastic cup on the top of the Nyquil bottle?”

“Not paying attention to you.”

“So the aliens can have somewhere to keep the BBs before they stick them in your nose.”

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