by Dave Barry

I don't want to alarm anybody, but there is an excellent chance that the Earth will be destroyed in the next several days. Congress is thinking about eliminating a federal program under which scientists broadcast signals to alien beings. This would be a large mistake. Alien beings have nuclear blaster death cannons. You cannot cut off their federal programs as if they were merely poor people.

I realize some of you may not believe that alien beings exist. But how else can you explain the many unexplained phenomena that people are always sighting, such as lightning and flying saucers? Oh, I know the authorities claim these sightings are actually caused by "weather balloons," but that is a bucket of manure if I ever heard one. (That's just a figure of speech, of course. I realize manure is silent.)

Answer this question honestly: Have you, or has any member of your immediate family, ever seen a weather balloon? Of course not. Nobody has. Yet if these "authorities" were telling the truth, the skies over America would be dark with weather balloons. Commercial aviation would be impossible. Nevertheless, the authorities trot out this tired old explanation, or an even stupider one, every time a flying saucer is sighted.

Wake up, America! There are no weather balloons! Those are alien beings! They are all around us! I'm sure most of you have seen the movie "E.T.", the story of an alien who almost dies when he falls into the clutches of the American medical establishment but is saved by pre-adolescent boys. Everybody believes the alien is a fake, a triumph of special effects. But watch the movie closely next time. The alien is real. The boys are fakes. Real pre-adolescent boys would have beaten the alien to death with rocks.

Yes, aliens exist and high government officials know they exist, but they've been keeping this knowledge top secret. Here is the Untold Story:

Years ago, when the alien-broadcast program began, government scientists decided to broadcast a message that would be simple yet convey a sense of love, universal peace and brotherhood: "Have a Nice Day." They broadcast this message over and over, day after day, year after year, until one day they got an answer:

Dear Earth Persons:

OK. We are having a nice day. We also have a number of extremely sophisticated weapons, and unless you start broadcasting something more interesting, we will reduce your planet to a very warm object the size of a child's bowling ball.


The Aliens

So the scientists, desperate for something that would interest the aliens, broadcast an episode of "I Love Lucy", and the aliens loved it. They demanded more, and soon they were getting all three major networks, and the Earth was saved. There is only one problem: THE ALIENS HAVE TERRIBLE TASTE. They love game shows, soap operas, Howard Cosell and "Dallas." Whenever a network tries to take one of these shows off the air, the aliens threaten to vaporize the planet.

This is why you and all your friends think television is so awful. It isn't designed to please you --it's designed to please creatures from another galaxy. You know the Wisk commercial, the one with ring around the collar, the one so spectacularly stupid that it makes you wonder why anybody would dream of buying the product?

Well, the aliens love that commercial. We all owe a great debt of gratitude to the people who make Wisk. They have not sold a single bottle of Wisk in 14 years, but they have saved the Earth.

Very few people know any of this. Needless to say, Congress has no idea what is going on. Most legislators are incapable of eating breakfast without the help of several aides, so we can hardly expect them to understand a serious threat from outer space. But if they go ahead with their plan to cancel the alien-broadcast program and the aliens miss the next episode of "General Hospital," What do you think will happen? Think about it. And have a nice day.