ET Phone Home…and Bet on the Packers in ’67

I came across a news story the other day that talked about how these 47-year old television signals we had beamed into space are suddenly and mysteriously bouncing back to earth now. A group of astronomers in Puerto Rico made the discovery while searching for signs of intelligent life. Pretty cool, huh?

The whole thing got me to thinking. If there are aliens on some distant planet – let’s call it Vega, which happens to be the fifth-brightest star in the sky and is a mere twenty-five light years from earth – then, think of all the fun shows they’re catching on TV right now! The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Bewitched and The Addams Family are brand new, and they’re showing Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer for the first time (I’m sure it’ll become a holiday classic on Vega, as well). There’s The Andy Griffith Show and Gilligan’s Island and My Three Sons. American Bandstand and Gunsmoke and the last original episodes of The Twilight Zone. Those lucky extraterrestrials are in for a real treat!

Just wait 'til Jerry Springer hits the air. (Courtesy of

Of course, not everything will be rosy as the years roll by. I feel like we should apologize in advance for The Clapper and Chia pets and Joanie Loves Chachi. On the plus side, they’ll get to see Mean Joe Green and Where’s The Beef? and that really bitchin’ Apple Macintosh commercial from 1984 that only aired once. Sure, they may scoff at the technology (and laugh outright over our cute little moon landing), but they’re sure to admire All In The Family and The Cosby Show and Seinfeld. Someday, there will be a bunch of ETs wandering around debating over Who Shot JR. Plus, all those awesome Super Bowls will be brand new! They have no idea that the Green Bay Packers will come out strong, the Pittsburgh Steelers will dominate for awhile, the 49ers and Cowboys will kick a little ass, and the Buffalo Bills will choke four years in a row. Man, I could make a killing gambling on these games if I could just hitch a ride to Vega.

Come to think of it, Tara did promise me a trip down the Extraterrestrial Highway in January. Hmm. Then again, the guys on their currency might have tentacles and three heads. Might be tough passing off those bills at Target.

On A More Serious But No Less Far-Out Note…

My doctor’s bills have started to roll in.

Keep in mind, I am still unemployed. Which means I’ve got no health insurance. My parents warned me when I lost my job that the one thing I wouldn’t want to do is end up in the hospital. Naturally, being the rebellious sort, I didn’t listen to them.

You know what’s guaranteed to produce a good laugh? Opening up a hospital bill for $47,000. Seriously, I was practically Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off when I tore into that particular envelope.

The good news is, if I pay it before the due date – twelve days away – they’ll knock off five grand!

Actually, the gooder news is, they had me fill out a charity application while there. Given my (lack of) income and the fact that I claim one dependent on my taxes, there’s a fairly good chance most of my medical bills will be paid by the state. I sure hope so. You can’t get blood from a stone, after all. (Maybe on Vega you can. Could be part of their advanced technology. One more reason to visit).

Speaking of blood, I had a doctor’s appointment last week, and the nursing assistant who drew my blood said it was particularly dark. She joked that I must be descended from royalty. I’m not really sure what the one thing has to do with the other, but I told her my ancestors were all pretty much poor peasants. Sheep and goat herders in Communist block countries. I’m pretty sure there are no kings or queens in the family line, though I am dating a Leo so there’s a chance that has rubbed off on me.

I also had a follow-up surgical visit the other day, and the doctor said everything looked great and I am healing well. I actually feel like I’m pretty much back to normal now, and I celebrated that with a long-overdue Bloody Mary a few nights ago. Believe me when I say that was one tasty beverage.

It’s good that I’m feeling normal again, because in just ten more days I’ll be stepping onto an airplane for the first time in more than a decade! My girlfriend and I have to make up for our last visit, which didn’t go quite as we had anticipated.

It’s going to be a blast!


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

21 thoughts on “ET Phone Home…and Bet on the Packers in ’67

  1. Babe, it’s okay to admit you actually started crying when you opened that hospital bill, but I understand if you don’t want to own up to a few tears. Your secret is safe with me. 😉

    Good to know that Wikipedia confirms my UFO sightings the last two times I’ve driven to Vegas at night. Seriously, I know the lights I saw in the sky were NOT normal! With any luck, you’ll see some too when we’re driving home Christmas night.


    1. LMAO! Tears from laughing so hard, maybe. Or…wait…no, I had just been cutting onions. Either way, I can explain them, really I can…

      My fingers are crossed for weird lights in the sky! And no, I’m not referring to the star of Bethlehem.


  2. Being self-employed, we had to give up our health insurance almost a year ago. Used to have Kaiser at $2,400/mo for 3 of us. Ouch! I, too, received bills after we lapsed on our insurance payments where they wanted to charge me $1,500 a session for me to put my hands under fluorescent lights (for eczema) for 5 mins.

    I’m glad to read (in a weird sort of way) that you don’t have insurance. I’ve been feeling like a social pariah not having insurance. And I certainly am uber-paranoid about getting sick or hurt.


    1. Heidi – that’s exactly how I feel every time I go to a doctor’s appointment and they ask for my insurance information! I end up feeling defensive when I say I don’t have any. There was a story in the local paper yesterday about how 13% of Washington residents have no health insurance, so I know that while I may be in the minority, I’m certainly not alone.


  3. Maybe you’re part vampire…they’re blood is always so dark on the movies. Just a theory. Happy to hear you are healing up well and now I want a bloody mary too. Partly because it sounds fabulous and partly because it’s been a bloody busy day 😛


  4. Well…aren’t you just Mr. Pragmatic? Sorry…just had to throw in the “Word of the Year!”

    I can’t believe Tara called you out on your tears! Is nothing sacred? I now have this image of you rolling on the floor…with tears streaming down your face…laughing hysterically…I mean, sobbing hysterically…pumping your clenched fist in the air saying “WHY????”

    All because of BACON!!


  5. Now actually, I am sure we are descendents of Nicholas the Czar of Russia-we just havent found where Gramps hid the Faberge eggs!


  6. ” are suddenly and mysteriously bouncing back to earth”

    That caught my eye. Deliciously creepy. Now I’m off to search the web for the reason this is happening now. Thanks for sending me off on another chase. 🙂

    I’m sorry about the bills, but I’m glad you’re feeling better.


    1. The article I linked to said they pretty much don’t know why these signals are bouncing back, or what is causing that to happen. Hope it isn’t a Mothership scenario like we saw in Independence Day! Just in case, maybe we should get in touch with Will Smith…


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