Ok, so that might be a smidge early, as World Contact Day isn’t officially until March 15, but I get confused sometimes about time zones.
Just how many hours ahead is Alpha Centari, anyway?
For those of you who have somehow managed to survive this long without knowing about World Contact Day, you can bless your stars I’m about to inform you.
World Contact Day is the day we’re all supposed to think about a single message, as a whole planet, in the hope there are telepathic aliens out in the cosmos within earshot.
But earshot isn’t quite the right word, because you generally don’t hear telepathy. And brainshot sounds like something you do to zombies, so, for the sake of column space, I’m just going to pretend I said the right word.
And because as a reader, you’re basically reading slaves chained to my words, you’re going to assume I also said the right word, and we’re going to move on.
WCD has been going on since 1953, and was originally thought up by a group called the International Flying Saucer Bureau.
Interestingly enough, those of you of a certain age may have never heard of the group, or World Contact Day, but there’s a good chance you may have actually heard the message itself before. It goes like this:
“Calling occupants of interplanetary craft! Calling occupants of interplanetary craft that have been observing our planet EARTH.
“We of IFSB wish to make contact with you.
“We are your friends, and would like you to make an appearance here on EARTH. Your presence before us will be welcomed with the utmost friendship. We will do all in our power to promote mutual understanding between your people and the people of EARTH. Please come in peace and help us in our EARTHLY problems.
“Give us some sign that you have received our message. Be responsible for creating a miracle here on our planet to wake up the ignorant ones to reality. Let us hear from you. We are your friends.”
Sound familiar? That’s because the words were fudged a bit and turned into a song by a band called Klaatu in the 1970s. Later, The Carpenters would do a cover of the song and go on to be a monster hit. The song’s title is “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft”.
While it’s kind of cool to think millions of people saying, singing, and thinking the same message to attract aliens could actually work, the question remains: what do we do with them once we get their attention?
I think we have a 50/50 shot of either being really glad we made alien friends, or really sorry we attracted insectoid overlords and basically invited them into our homes to enslave and devour us. Pretty good odds, right? Anybody who buys lottery tickets is probably thinking those are spectacular odds.
Personally, my plan for what to do with an alien involves gorging him on Reeses Pieces and hiding him in my closet surrounded by stuffed animals so my mom won’t find him; showing him how to embrace his human side by becoming his best friend and being sad when he learns how the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one; and feeding him cats while he takes forever trying to find all the parts for his broken spaceship and lives in my attic (bonus points if you get that one, nerds).
Of course, all my awesome alien planning could be tossed right out the window if they come to the planet bearing gifts of facehuggers or they simply lob meteors at us from their home world Klandathu. In this case, I don’t think there’s a slingshot big enough in the world to fling a Reeses Pieces (Piece?) out to them.
Dr. Stephen Hawking has talked a bit about why aliens might come to visit us, and mostly his thoughts involve the idea that it would be pointless to travel so far without having something to gain from it. Since they’ve already mastered interstellar travel, the only thing left would be to come and use our face skin to make really scary space footballs or to make 6 billion copies of the Necronomicon, possibly the scariest of all Facebooks (hint: it’s bound in screaming human flesh).
The world moves so fast today, and I am glad I have lived to see so many awesome things in the nearly 40 years I’ve been around. Seeing occupants of interplanetary craft landing somewhere cool, like Calaway Park, would just about be the cherry on the top of the sundae, wouldn’t it?
On the other hand, if they come down and they look like big slobbering spiders with laser guns and rocket-powered fangs, watching earth unite to build a gigantic rolled up newspaper for squishing them would also be the cherry on top of the sundae.
A sundae of vengeance.
Aliens of space: consider yourself warned.