September 1st, 2009


e is also a magic number.

The aliens knocked on my door again this morning.

"Here's our idea," they said. They always talk in groups because they have a hive mind intelligence. They also have a hive vocal apparatus -- it takes about sixty of them to speak aloud.

"Yes?" I asked, still groggy. Sometimes they bring me alien coffee when they wake me up early, but they must have gotten too excited today, and forgotten.

"We really like the television show Schoolhouse Rock," they said, "but we feel it did not go far enough. We would like to commission a television show in the same format -- short, upbeat, accessible, with catchy nonthreatening contemporary music -- that explains other principles of your culture and learning. We request that the show cover topics that every American adult should know, such as differential and integrative calculus, the Calvin cycle, human psychoanatomy, the ANOVA statistical analysis method, the reading of a corporate balance sheet and cash flow statement, the formation of musical chords, the legal principles of artistic copyright, applying mathematical game theory to modern political conflicts, principles of wine tasting and fortuitous wine pairings, the distinction between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, the principles of humility and majesty in Rodin's nude sculptures, the major corporations of the world and their holdings and interests, treatment and recovery of addiction, the principles of effective written communication, a broad summary of martial arts styles, the mathematics behind the major proposed forms of superstring theory, the most popular pieces of Bollywood musical theatre, and the writing systems of the Arabic, Hindi, Hebrew, Russian and Japanese languages."

"Um," I replied.

"We do not require complete coverage -- simply enough to explain the basic principles, in a way that anyone could understand, and to give a lead-in for those who are interested in learning more. We wish these musical educational pieces to be interjected in popular entertainment, including but not limited to contemporary animated cartoons."

"Guys, I don't have the ability to create or distribute that kind of thing. I'm a haberdasher, remember? I make, repair, and block hats. I don't know how to make cartoons, and while I've got an okay singing voice, I can't compose or perform catchy rock and roll melodies."

"Our apologies for the intrusion," they said.

The aliens then separated out in a swarm and settled into the cracks and crevices of the tree outside my house, which is their current home.

I went back to bed.