In the days leading up to the March 1st release of my collection In Search Of and Others, I’ll be sharing some of my idiosyncratic questions on the so-called “paranormal”…and their idiosyncratic answers.
My favorite movie of all time is Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and I’m pretty sure there’s a doctoral thesis waiting to be written about how this film is the foundation of my artistic, aesthetic, and interpersonal development: “He’ll leave anyone behind to follow his artistic delusions!”
Which, uh, has a kind of disconcerting truth to it. Yikes.
Anyway, the movie has meant different things to me over the years. The artistic metaphor of Roy Neary pursuing his vision at any cost is what appeals to me now, but as a kid, it was all about being little Barry. Kidnapped by aliens to play across the universe? Access to all their secrets? Near immortality as we exceed the speed of light? Sign me up!
You wouldn’t be far wrong to think I’ve spent much of my life straining to be an insightful and perceptive person WORTH kidnapping by an advanced interstellar species.
It’s not going well, if the lack of kidnapping is anything to go by.
Maybe I’m doing something wrong. Maybe CE3K misled me. Maybe the aliens prefer the creepy oddballs you see in all the abduction accounts, people with diverging eyes and fanny packs and therapeutic socks covering their forearms.
Nobody cool has ever been kidnapped by aliens.
Think about it. Bruce Lee? Milla Jovovich? Jack White? Sarah Vowell? I guess it’s possible they’ve been kidnapped and kept quiet about it, but…come on. The aliens overwhelmingly come for the kinds of people who end up in encounter groups with crumbs speckling their wolf t-shirts — people who need to be kidnapped because there’s no greater love than being stolen, I guess.
Maybe alien abduction victims have repressed traumatic experiences of being left at school by their mothers. Maybe the hypnotherapists need to regress them back to THAT.
“No…wait. Where’s Mommy? Is that her van? It’s got the wood paneling. Oh, no…No. No. It isn’t her. But I got here on time like she told me. I’m standing where I’m supposed to be, by the stop sign. The janitor is closing up the school. They’re closing the gates. Am I going to have to walk home? By myself? In the dark? THE LIGHTS! THE LIGHTS!”
There’s no surer way of feeling special than to think that a hyper-intelligent species has built a ship capable of traversing space and time solely for the purpose of saving you from the company of lesser people who don’t love or understand you for who you “really are.”
That’s what I hoped as a kid, that my people would come to rescue me from the human family. I spent a great deal of my childhood derisively snorting “humans!” when people disappointed me. But then I figured out that, yeah, those humans actually ARE my people, damn it all.
It was a scary and freeing day when I figured out that your people don’t come looking for you. It’s the other way around.