Alien Shies Away From Planet Earth
It’s 8:15 in the morning in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The radio alarm goes off, and a voice on CBC radio reports that a fancy new crop circle has popped up in a field overnight. A man in his 40s crawls out of his space ship, stretches (after a long trip through space), then looks over the tall shafts of wheat toward town.
His name is Edgar. But he is no ordinary man. He is an alien. Dressed in humans’ clothing and he’s come to earth to see whether his species can make contact, find a new home. So he sets out on a Day in the Life of an Ordinary Canadian, ready to gather some research on the humans he’s heard so much about. He is hopeful.
Reaching town, he strolls by a newspaper stand – the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. The name of a star that neighbours his own; interesting. On the cover of the newspaper he reads the headlines: a mayor on crack? A couple of senators cheating on their expenses? People seem to be enraged about this. Good sign. Edgar takes note, and keeps walking.
A few more steps and he looks to his right: a Tim Horton’s. Yes, heard a lot about this eatery. Very popular. A Canadian Success Story. Now owned by a US company, though, but still making big bucks. Peeks through the window and sees workers behind the counter. He recalls having read about this too: mostly minimum wage workers, forcing many to work at two jobs. Not a good sign. Decides he’ll pass on a Tim Horton’s coffee.
A few more blocks and he sees hundreds of workers constructing a huge building of some kind. He can see more tall cranes not far away; must be thousands of workers, then. Again massive profits will be made by a few at the top while the many will be left fighting or begging for a decent wage along with better safety conditions. The whole scene reminds him of life on planet earth several centuries ago, but he pushes it from his mind and walks on. Edgar has come across this kind of greed on other planets, and he expects to find it here as well. But he’s looking and hoping he’ll find something else.
Down the street - a hospital. Saving lives and doing good work. He’s done some Earthly Homework, and knows the head of the country’s government, a guy with fake looking hair and a ready smile, is slowly but actively dismantling healthcare, turning Medicare into public-private partnerships, and creating a tiered system that privileges those with money.
Another newsstand and a newspaper called the Globe & Mail with similar headlines to the StarPhoenix. This time Edgar decides to scan the entire contents for some sign of public outrage over the human misery that must surely be taking place. But he finds nothing; certainly nothing to suggest an attack being waged on the very few or on the country’s leader, both of whom are directly responsible for the pain being felt by many.
Feeling dispirited, Edgar next spots a gas station across the street. “HOLY BLINKING STAR ACAMAR!” he shouts, “the symbol of Harper’s slaughter of earth’s beautiful, natural resources!” He recalls seeing the destruction from space – a large land area completely deforested and left with nothing but tar infected soil. He was shocked at the sight of it. Suddenly Edgar turns on his heels and rushes back to his ship in the wheat field!
Safe inside, a question plagues him: “Why has a mayor’s smoking habits and a couple of cheating senators galvanized such public outrage but not the destruction of their planet and the attack on their quality of life? BILLIONS OF DOLLARS snatched by the few, forcing so many to work two or three jobs to get by, leaving others saddled with a high student debt,families with high childcare expenses, along with a beleaguered economy, a faltering health care system and a planet on suicide watch!” Down deep he knows there must be human suffering. But the one key thing he was hoping to find, a sense of outrage over the attack on human life and the destruction of this planet, seems absent.
Confused and disheartened, Edgar cranks up his anti-gravity-quick get-away machine and, letting out a long sigh of relief, heads off at death-defying speed in search of another distant star. He knows the outrage will one day return to planet earth, as it once did. He is sure of it. And while he believes there are pockets of resistance here and there, at this point in time he decides he must search for a safer world; one in which the majority have some control over the greed of the few.