HINKAMP: Why I Like Aliens

There's plenty to like about Independence Day<>, the movie. You get to see L.A., New York City and Washington, D.C. nuked -- simultaneously! As a special bonus attraction, Houston gets flattened by our own country! This gives me hope for a higher level of intelligence in the universe. Unfortunately, the aliens with the superior firepower later get defeated by a bunch of human misfits in RVs. I guess they were too busy making crop circles to defend themselves against an Apple laptop computer.

Hope I didn't ruin the movie for you. You see, I generally root for the aliens.

The aliens, seem to have a much more manageable lifestyle than you or I. They have eschewed the need for clothes, language and most of the other accouterments of terrestrial life. To steal form another movie "what separates us from the beasts is our ability to accessorize." Perhaps we should turn this on its head: What keeps us from being an advanced society is that ours needs to accessorize.

Consider Star Trek<>. There is no junk on the Enterprise. There are no faxes, no Post-its, no piles of unread magazines, no dishes, no clipped coupons, no refrigerator magnets and no coffee tables full of mail order catalogs, no knicks, few knacks. I'm not even sure if the crew members wear socks. The Star Ship Enterprise is remarkably uncluttered.

There is a reason for this. The none of the crew members ever comes out and says it, but the end of pre-Starship civilization was caused by having too much stuff.

Students of the show have noticed that the plot alludes to a lack of war on the planet Earth and the control of pollution problems, but it is never quite clear why left Mother Earth in the first place. Apparently, our great, great, great grandchildren will have solved the simple problems of world peace and unlimited renewable energy production, but they will be driven off the planet in a quest for space -- not outer space, just space to store more stuff.

The Federation had to employ aliens on the enterprise to keep the human crew from accumulating more stuff as they garage sale hop around the universe.

You might think this is all just a sour grapes fantasy of someone who never learned his Mom's lesson of "putting things away when you are finished with them." No, don't scoff this really could be our future.

This is how it will happen. There are people out there -- you know who you are -- who actually move out of their old homes and move into new ones so they have room for more stuff. Sometimes the new stuff is a spouse or a child, but often it is just plain, generic stuff. Soon the new house isn't big enough and garages get tuned into family rooms, attics into extra rooms and basements into clothes hampers. Possibly you buy a roof rack for your car so you can drive around with some of the stuff. Next, the inevitable happens -- you go out rent a storage unit just so you can store more stuff.

You have spring cleaning fever and try to have a garage sale, but you can't sell everything, so you end up keeping most of it. You go to the local charity thrift shop to drop off some stuff, but you end up going inside and buying more stuff. The only thing that saves you is that eventually your kids move out. This not only allows you to unload some stuff on them for their new houses, but also allows you to use their old rooms for storage space. The down side is that you have spawned a new generation of stuff accumulators.

After about 500 years of this, eventually all the land gets used up and all the self storage units are rented. The Starship Enterprise is constructed from recycled beer cans and leaves the Earth in search of new planets and life forms that possess really big closets.

Come to think of it, that's probably why the earth keeps being invaded by hostile slimy beings -- they're looking for someplace to store their junk.

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