I just turned fifty-eight yesterday and I was thinking about my beginnings. I had my cord cut in Houston, Texas which we affectionately called Space City. My Mom smoked during her long and difficult labor. “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” would have been playing on the waiting room radio. I have it on good authority that the doctor who delivered me was a cigar man and had a stogie in his jowls as he pulled me into the fluorescent light. After eighteen years of cold turkey, I sent off for a free pouch of Drum tobacco from a coupon in a TV Week Magazine and never looked back.
Exactly eight months after I was born, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik-1. It fell out of the sky exactly one month shy of my first birthday. Although I wasn't directly aware of these events, I found myself quickly ushered into the Cold War and the Space Race. By the time I could read science fiction books, they weren't really that far-fetched as they had seemed to generation ahead of me. For all I knew, the mysterious Mr. Bass might have been my own neighbor. Some HAM radio operators picked up and played back the signal pulses from the satellite back in 1957 and it gave everyone the creeps.
My country responded with the creation of NASA and DARPA. We children did the drills at school for the coming nuclear war and though we scampered under our desks weekly, all that happened was a bunch of assassinations at home and a war that was called a Police Action in Korea and another war in Vietnam. Evidently, we were fighting to curtail an ideology which we had allowed to expand in Europe after the last war. Kool-Aid came out with soft plastic jugs and cups that smelled like make-up but most kids got used to them pretty quick. I preferred glass because it smelled like clean beach sand.
When I was twenty, I tried to imagine what report an extraterrestrial probe would send back to its mother ship, were it to observe my life as a random sample of the organization of our blue planet. I imagined some honorable creatures who had been searching endless space for light years had stumbled onto our miraculous living orb, tarried awhile and taken some notes. Here then, is what I wrote those thirty years ago.
Observations of Earth's dominant species - Social system - Earth 1977 - Subject : random male U
Overall Earth Assessment
Recommendations and Field Notes
Some of the interesting news in the second month of 2015 was of the recent passing of a Bill in the British Parliament to make three parent babies legal. Her egg, his sperm and some Mitochondria R Us. In other news, a Carbon Tax is to be levied by some carbon-based life forms upon other carbon-based life forms in our carbon-based world. Inhabitants of sham countries bound by international treaties signed in secret in the name of saving the planet shall have their remaining wealth siphoned through a Carbon Exchange and into a clearing house in Switzerland and finally into the coffers of the owners of the corporations which are engaged in the rape of our planet.
When the people cannot afford Cable TV any longer they will no doubt be pleasantly surprised that it will happily be supplied for free. Should anyone still wish not to have it, they may be unpleasantly surprised to find out that this may no longer be an option. I should like to remind the eugenicists and bio-estheticians (sic) that past performance is no guarantee of future results. I should like to remind the recent graduate tuition debtors that a polar bear can still swim over a hundred miles while a snake can last six months without a sip of water.
Michael Hawes was born in Texas, raised in Louisiana and lives in British Columbia.