Aliens in the Bronx
Last night I was startled when my fiancé ran downstairs and scolded me for not seeing what she had seen. “Herbie! Did you see the lights?” I was bewildered and unaware of what she was talking about as I had been watching old videos of pro wrestlers (Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, etc.) cutting promos on YouTube. Afterwards she showed me a picture of bluish lights illuminating the sky towards the southeast. It wasn’t a plane, nor a bunch of street lights, in fact the lights were like nothing I’ve ever seen. On Facebook, videos of the lights had already been posted and people were beginning to panic. The only plausible explanation: aliens had arrived. What else could it be? All of my training in viewing sci-fi films and television and reading Stephen King novels had gone out the window as a foreign fear overcame me. I thought about my daughter and the uncertainty of her future as new beings prepared to descend from the sky.
The strange blue lights were caused by a transformer explosion at a Con Ed facility in Queens, not martians. And, some people closer to the blast thought a terrorist attack was underway. But in the Bronx, where I was, the lights looked like the spaceships that Richard Dreyfuss saw in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. So, why was I so quick to assume that aliens would soon be invading the Bronx? Is it because of all the sci-fi material that I consume (Walking Dead, Aliens, etc.)? Or, is it something deeper than that? We’ve been looking skyward ever since our ancestors were painting on cave walls and building pyramids, and there is a curiosity within us that wonders if there is other intelligent life on other worlds. How can we possibly be the only sentient beings in the universe? That would be far too grandiose of us to assume.
Science fiction is probably a mix of everything we secretly desire and dread in society, a representation of our deepest and often times darkest wishes. We’ve already created robots for fulfilling work tasks, optimizing our pleasure (even for sex), and for mining and gathering all of the information in the known universe. If we think it, we build it. But, there is a part of us, like a sixth sense, that must detect something looking down on us from the cosmos. Something’s probably out there, but it hasn’t revealed itself to us just yet. Now, back to watching Hulk Hogan videos.