Many people have asked how I came to write E.T. 101. Here is the official story:
Among the sundry things I have done, I worked for a newspaper. After pioneering a very successful and award-winning supplement to this newspaper concerning the Healing Arts, also known as The New Age, I was asked to write a column on that very same topic for that very same paper.
Unfortunately, this supplement, which I produced twice, came to be called, “The Healing Supplement That Kills.” I was the one who named it that, with good cause. Not only was it life-threatening because it was an exercise in herding cats, but it completely cured me of the New Age. Now that I think about it, I guess it did heal, in a backward kind of way.
In the course of producing this supplement, many people came through my office. Most were afflicted with the very thing they were allegedly healing, so it often was an ordeal, particularly if their specialty was obsessive compulsion or attention deficit disorder. The only reprieve I got was when some beings entered my office who claimed to be extraterrestrials. Guess what? They were.
So, by the time I was asked to be a columnist on a topic I was already bored with, my only interest had become extraterrestrials. At least they were decent conversationalists and they did seem to have a reason for being here, which I secretly admired. (Blending in had by now become very tedious and equally boring.)
The problem I now faced was how to get this information concerning extraterrestrials past my squinty-eyed editor and my straight-laced publisher to my reading public. Keep in mind, this was an award-winning investigative journalist newspaper that wouldn’t even run an astrology column because they didn’t believe in it, in a town where everyone else did. This was definitely an uphill battle.
I prayed for assistance, immediately forgot that I did that, and was suddenly struck with a brilliant idea. There was a cultural flaw, an inherent bias, causing a synaptic leap which people automatically took if you quoted something out of a book. It instantly attained credibility, probably due to the mysterious alchemical properties of black ink. Ahaaa!
When I came to, the publisher was staring at me blankly and continued to blink for a long time….I saw the fatal question forming…, “Who wrote it?”
Naturally, I then decided to make up a book about extraterrestrials, do a review of the book, and quote from it profusely, saying that it was soon to be published in the city in which we lived. Foolproof, and a get-out-of-jail-free card. I was dazzled by my brilliance and confident of my success.
The day after I submitted my article, I was called into the publisher’s office. I passed by the editor’s desk on my way there and he obliquely looked up over his reading glasses and then flat-out stared at me askance. Great prelude. The publisher was not quite as menacing, but definitely disturbed, point-blank asking me, “What is this?”, while holding up my article like it was a dirty rag.
To be honest, I can’t remember a word that I said. It’s a complete blur, and was probably full of innumerable holes. When I came to, the publisher was staring at me blankly and continued to blink for a long time. Finally, I saw the fatal question forming in the publisher’s mind. I was going to be asked, “Who wrote it?” to which question I had no idea what to say. Then the most unexpected words emerged from that long, dreadful silence, “Do you swear this book is about to be published here?” To which I answered, “Absolutely. Would I lie to you?” The publisher then said,”Okay, in that case I will run your article.” What???
They did publish it. Feeling considerably less brilliant than I had a few short days before, I wondered how smart was it to write a book review, get it published in a newspaper, then be faced with the obligation to write and publish a book to justify the premature review? (Remember, this happened well before fake news was fashionable and verging on a national sport.)
I considered every possible way out. Maybe nobody read it. I went philosophical – If an article is published in a newspaper and no one is around to read it, does it still make you a questionable journalist? No, that’s not going to work. My editor and my publisher read it – that is absolutely for sure. After a number of mental journeys down fruitless cul-de-sacs, I finally saw the light. There he was, Jean-Luc Picard, standing on the deck of the Enterprise, staring out into the vastness of space and saying, “Make it so.” So I did.
And this is where the story actually begins. . . .
Note: I apologize for leaving out certain details including the unnamed newspaper run by an unnamed publisher in an unnamed city located in an unnamed state. As soon as I am safely in a witness protection program, I will release all names and places. Until then, just pretend you are reading The Washington Post. — DL
Stay tuned for the next exciting adventure of, I Will Blend No More Forever – Part III.