Kacper Niburski / Silhouette Staff
If I was from another planet and I was visiting Earth, I’d enter the atmosphere with a wide smile. From afar, the planet would be a beautiful blend of blue, white and green. Almost nothing would be known about the little speck besides the occasional tap-dancing tune being picked up on the radio. Though brief, they’d be nearly perfect.
Some songs would be so heavenly that they’d practically be proof of divinity itself. As I’d prepare to land my spacecraft, I’d hum them. “Diddly doo, dilly da, all you need is love, diddly doo…” Besides my guttural hymns, the planet would appear almost peaceful behind the celestial firework show around it.
If I were from another planet, I’d be greeted with fear and ignorance rather than joy and happiness.
My welcoming party would take the form of ballistic missiles and nations far and wide, from big brother Russia to misnomer Papa New Guinea.
They would join hands against me like I was a houseguest who had forgotten to take off his shoes at the door. I wouldn’t even have time to explain to them that with all my tentacles, I didn’t even wear shoes.
If I were from another planet, I’d learn that many members of this seemingly barbarous species didn’t wear shoes either.
Something called money was to blame. I’d learn more too: the species inhabiting this planetary gem with music so powerful that even God would brag about it were more or less meat wagons, a squishy mass of giblets and organs that jiggled around like pocket change. They’d be animals that could think and laugh and compose great works, but they’d be animals nonetheless. They fought. They argued. They fought again. That was their history, and for some reason, they were proud of it.
If I were from another planet, I’d be jailed. In a high security prison, I’d be told that I needed a pilot’s permit to fly around the Earth’s stratosphere.
I’d tell them I didn’t know I needed one. They would reply that no one ever does – that’s how this whole thing works. I’d say which thing. They’d say that they didn’t know.
If I were from another planet, I’d learn that this species did know some things, however. They knew that the Earth was cold in the winter and hot in the summer. For some, that was already too much information to handle. They’d complain, “Oh, this winter is too hot” or “This summer is too cold” and so on.
If I was from another planet, I’d figure out that despite thousands of years of evolution, humanity was still fighting World War X. Everyone was against everyone else. Natural selection, they’d say.
If I were from another planet, I’d spend much of my time looking for the Earth’s borders. Many would point me towards a library full of dusty maps in order to show me the points at which pride met hard-fought glory. Every man, woman and child, every king and peasant, every prophet and follower, every father and every son, all the wars that had been fought, lost and forgotten, all the bloodshed, all the stories of happiness, sadness and loss, that night in Paris, that day in Monaco – they were all contained within these patrolled borders. They were the bindings of a book only humankind knew.
If I were from another planet, I’d listen and nod to their tale. Sometimes, I’d even laugh.
Then, I’d tell them that from above, the Earth was all one big, unified landmass. And when one wasn’t knee deep in the Milky Way, the Earth was just a small crumb in a big, black bowl of cereal. It wasn’t even healthy to eat, I’d say.
If I were from another planet, I’d sift through the hokum. No political party would win in my favour. No ideology would seem better than any other. Instead, I’d say that on Juhani, the planet I was from, there were only two kinds of political platforms: winning and losing. Everyone would fit into one or the other eventually.
If I were from another planet, I’d learn of great scientists and thinkers and the aggregate of a species’ progress. I’d learn of Newton, Fermat and Einstein. I’d be baffled by their genius and sheer persistence.
And I’d try to do my part to advance humanity’s scientific theory by passing on my own E=MC2. It’d go like this: love always.
If I was from another planet and I was visiting Earth, I would be distrustful of a species whose alert, hesitant smile had seen it all: war and peace, depression and happiness, poverty and wealth, starvation and gluttony, regression and progression, death and birth. I would walk in their shoes – as they’d say – and wonder how many steps it would take until they realized that just because they could read and write, add and subtract, they didn’t have claim over this planet any more than the cockroaches. If anything, those bugs had more of one – they were around longer.
If I were from another planet, I’d remind Earthlings that they weren’t better than the immaterial mass, the lifeless cosmic stew, sifting around them either. They were simply part of it. They were the stuffing of stars.
And if I was from another planet, I wouldn’t want to come back.