Today, visitors who said they were from another planet stopped by to give us a cup of sugar. One of them said, “it looks like you will need this.”
I said to them, “of all the things you could bring us from your world, why would you choose a cup of sugar?”
They seemed upset, which immediately made me suspicious of their intentions. The second visitor said, “you needed a reminder from a different period in your history, when your people cared about one another and wished each other well. Sugar is a gentle symbol of all the best and worst that will ultimately be your planet’s undoing. The same thing happened to our planet. We had all the resources we could ever need. All the other planets in our sector envied how full and lush our world was. And since we also had the smartest minds, certainly our greatest resource, in a world full of possibility, we just assumed they would figure out how to keep it all going, just as generations had done before us.”
The first visitor continued. “But we were wrong. We didn’t pass on that lush world to our children. It began to turn on us and all the good things and people in it started to breakdown and go bad. Sugar is like that. For generations it represented abundance and joy. We used it to make tasty treats we felt we deserved after all those hard years pulling ourselves up the evolutionary latter. But it turned out sugar was not a reward, but a curse. The sweetness was really poison. And all the science and technological breakthroughs that had transformed our world into a near perfect utopia, actually had depleted our core, life-giving resources, which we had come to take for granted. That was until we began noticing our world was in decline. It took several of our decades to even realize it was happening.”
The other visitor picked up, “So we turned on each other and blamed our troubles on others from our planet, instead of working together to find solutions. Finally, the environmental systems collapsed, and the world became uninhabitable. A few of us barely managed to escape to warn other planets in our sector and beyond, so they would not make the same mistakes we did.”
By now, I was a little curious, so I asked, “What was the name of your planet?”
“Earth,” he said, “it was called Earth.”
“Earth, I exclaimed! “You mean that stuff at the other end of my shovel in the garden? Who names their planet after dirt?”
“Yes, yes, you understand! You have grasped the deeper meaning. That’s why we’ve come: to warn you that the very earth upon which you depend, the very ground you walk upon, is on the verge of collapse. We urge you, the kind people of Trillion, to work together and save your planet before it is too late.“
I looked at them, up and down, as they got back into their odd little spaceship and left. “Thanks for the sugar,” I called out, waving politely. Then, through my smile, I said to my wife, “what a bunch of assholes. Can you believe the arrogance of those people?“
“I know, right,” she chimed.
Then my wife turned to me with that little glint in her eye, the one I had come to know and love, that always meant a good idea had just popped into her little head. She said “I know, let’s make some brownies for the Glockner game tonight with this sugar and just forget all about these uptight jerks. People from outer space? What a bunch of Debbie Downers?”
I said, “yeah, they obviously wanted something from us. Why else would they have come all that way. It wasn’t just to give us a cup of sugar, I can tell you that much.”
She said, “That was no space trip, more like a guilt trip. Wonk, wonk.”
I gave her a light peck on the cheek and started tickling her playfully, under her tentacles. “When you’re right, you’re right. Am I right? Am I right?” Then we made Kular, well into the rest of the afternoon.
Later that evening, after Talen’s Glockner game, which we won, by the way, my wife turned to me and said, “can you believe that other team? They clearly had no idea what they were doing out there — no defense, no strategy — not even in the same league!”
Sitting quietly in the backseat, after his big win, Clockner looked up from his Pictofam and muttered, “and not only that, they were Purple!”
For a split second, we looked at each other, as if somehow needing permission. But then we all burst into triumphant, only slightly, maniacal laughter.
As the guffaws had slowed into a titter, my wife said, “Hey, you guys hear the one about the Christian Scientist marrying the Existentialist. No? Well, they had kids who went door to door. But they didn’t know why!” Again, we burst into hysterical laughter, just as we walked into the house.
But for some reason, there was an elephant in the living room. I thought to myself, “what an odd way to end the day, with an Elephant in the room.”
Then I remembered the brownies, still in the oven, probably burnt to a crisp. And suddenly everything made sense. After all, that team was from the other side of the monorail track.
Just then my wife emerged from the kitchen, triumphantly. “Guess what, more Brownies for us.” We each had our fill and gave the rest to the Elephant, who looked like he could really use the sugar boost.
And what of our visitors, you ask? We vaporized them, with only the power of our thoughts.
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