What on earth will the aliens think?

Flying Saucer

Several weeks ago, Anne Woodman wrote a post in which she mentioned how strange the ritual of lighting and blowing out candles on a cake would seem to either aliens or future civilizations. This got me thinking about what else the aliens might find incomprehensible when they come to observe us. For the purpose of this post, we will assume that the aliens in question are…

a) More intelligent, or at least further advanced than us – a reasonable assumption in view of the fact that they will have discovered us before we have discovered them.


b) Friendly; they are here to observe only – that way their observations of us are not clouded by thoughts of wanting to destroy us.

I imagine the conversation would go something like this:

HEAD HONCHO OF PLANET ZOBOG: So, Zxbrz, what do your latest observations of the earthlings reveal?

ZXBRZ: Well boss, they do something called ‘taking a photograph’.

HEAD HONCHO: What is this ‘taking a photograph’?

ZXBRZ: One of the earthlings will have a gadget. Upon his command, other earthlings will look towards the gadget, and freeze their position for several seconds while smiling. Then they will return to what they were doing before.

HEAD HONCHO: And what is the purpose of this?

ZXBRZ: It appears they are capturing a moment in time in order to relive it later.

HEAD HONCHO: So you are telling me they have mastered time travel? That they are able to capture time with this gadget and then go back and relive the moment again in the future?

ZXBRZ: It would appear so, yes.

HEAD HONCHO: Fascinating. They are more advanced than we thought. What else?

ZXBRZ: Tupperware.

HEAD HONCHO: Tupperware?

ZXBRZ: Yes. Tupperware are containers available in a range of handy sizes, perfect for the busy housewife. When the earthlings have finished a meal, they will place left over food into the tupperware containers. They will then place the tupperware containers into their refrigeration units. Approximately one earth week later, they will remove the tupperware containers, lift the lid, sniff inside, and then throw the contents away.

HEAD HONCHO: So they are conducting some kind of experimentation here?

ZXBRZ: That is the only explanation, yes.

HEAD HONCHO: And they are able to analyse and record the results with one simple sniff. Very interesting. What else?

ZXBRZ: Theme parks.

HEAD HONCHO: What are theme parks?

ZXBRZ: They are huge places where earthlings of all ages will gather in their hundreds and thousands. They will spend most of the day there standing in lines.

HEAD HONCHO: What are they standing in lines for?

ZXBRZ: They are waiting to use devices of torture. When they reach the front of the lines, they will be strapped in to machines that they cannot escape from, and which throw them around, up high, down low, round and around, upside down. It causes them to scream and sometimes it makes them ill.

HEAD HONCHO: So these theme parks are where earthlings are forced to go for punishment then?

ZXBRZ: No sir, it would seem that they choose to go there of their own free will.

HEAD HONCHO: I see. So they must have developed some kind of system of self-punishment. That is extremely efficient. We clearly have much to learn from this planet. Observations are to continue indefinitely.

ZXBRZ: And probing, can we start the probing now?



Any ideas on what else might be a puzzle for our alien friends?

photo credit: Great Beyond via photopin cc


57 responses to “What on earth will the aliens think?

  1. Great post, Vanessa! Yes, we have lots and lots of strange behaviors. I love throwing away the leftovers in Tupperware and the self-punishment in theme parks! 🙂

    I have one for you: Nearly every Earthling has at a central location (or several key locations) a large rectangular screen able to receive signals. We believe it is placed centrally because it is of great spiritual importance to the Earthlings. It is probably how their deities communicate with them.


  2. They sit in front of small flat boxes… tap on it and then sit back and laugh… they call it Face Book, which must be that they laugh at their own faces…


  3. Good one. The human fascination with tupperware and tupperware parties is certainly a strange custom.


  4. So funny! I love the Tupperware one best. So true. I’m going to tell my husband that I’m conducting experiments upon our food from now on.


  5. “Can we start the probing, now?” 😀

    I do so enjoy these silly posts of yours, Vanessa! It does give one pause, though, to consider all the odd rituals we have…even if I’m particularly guilty of the theme park one, myself.


  6. Ah, thanks for a good laugh! What would they think of those of us in urban/suburban areas who spend hours of the day in our cars in stop-and-go traffic?


  7. Excellent use of Tupperware, Vanessa.


  8. I’ve always thought aliens would find human behavior in a nightclub odd. All those bodies gyrating to music. On the other hand, maybe getting one’s groove on is a multi-universe instinct…


  9. This is an entertaining post, Vanessa. Experiment, indeed!. Ha. That one is so realistic, but then so are the camera and the theme park. I bet iPhones and iPads might be strange to aliens too. They’re awfully big, aren’t they. They sould be imbeded in the wrist…Teehee.


  10. Humans stare at boxes which have pictures of their foodstuffs and vehicles. In between the pictures of their nutritional items and transport modules they briefly have images of stories.


  11. Ha ha! Great post. Loved the Tupperware bit. Very true.
    What else might be a puzzle, you ask? Where will I start?
    In world dominated by electronic communications, why do a large group of cross-dressing men desperate to conceal their sexual habits, still use smoke signals to notify the nearby international TV media of their new leader?


    • That’s a good one Richard!

      I read a thing somebody posted on Facebook a while ago, which was talking about what would be the hardest thing about modern life to explain to someone who had travelled here from the past, and it was that we have a small device that we can hold in our hand that allows us to access every bit of information ever known to man, and we use it to look at pictures of cute kittens and to argue with others.


      • Ha ha! Yes, very true. Arthur C Clarke apparently said, any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic. Especially to someone from the past or a primitive tribe or something. Living in today’s society we’re pretty clued up about these things!


  12. Self punishment! If only. Love it, funny post. 🙂


  13. When alone in their dwellings, they jump around like mad things listening to an earthling called Brittany, but pretend not to when someone knocks.


  14. “I, at first, thought Earthlings were obsessed with slight variations of color.”


    “That was my first impression. But then I read this ’50 Shades of Gray’ and, well, let’s just say the Earthlings are obsessed with…um…something else.”


  15. This made me laugh. I think ‘sunbathing’ would intrigue aliens. Earthlings lyiing about the sand, or a yard, or a rooftop, or the deck, some with clothes, some not, for hours.


  16. Good one …. I say time spent staring at glowing rectangles.


  17. The tupperware makes me think of the things I leave in my fridge when I go away, which I don’t even risk smelling when I get back. I’m always fascinated by that particular mould that is a sort of cherry red colour, and looks inviting like jam, but I am sure if I ate in then I would be really getting to know my toilet. I think aliens would find the way we have to clear up after dogs interesting…they would wonder who was really in charge!


  18. Clever post! I always think bout stuff like this objectively, like painting finger/toenails/lips seems weird when you think about it?


  19. Thanks for that. I like “And probing, can we start the probing now?” I can almost see the hopeful glint in ZXBRZ’s face and then … disappointment. 😦


  20. Vanessa, ha ha. Funny post. On a more serious note I think they would find it strange that we’re constantly at war with one another. It’s sad, but true.


  21. I don’t know about assumption a)…any species that spends its time traveling billions of light years just to engage in anal probing doesn’t seem all THAT intelligent.


  22. That tupperware bit was TOO TRUE!! Let’s see, what else…. drinking?

    ZXBRZ: They also do this thing where they drink the liquid of fermented fruits.

    HEAD HONCHO: Ahh! And is it pleasant?

    ZXBRZ: Well yes, I think so. If they drink a little, nothing happens. If they drink a little more, they seem happy…

    HEAD HONCHO: And then they drink more, and they’re happier still?

    ZXBRZ: Err… no. If they drink more than that, then they either get sleepy or angry or happy, and then they become unconscious, and wake up with a pickled brain.

    HEAD HONCHO: …………this “Earth” is a silly place.


  23. They’ll see all the kids these days with their orange skin, piercings and tattoos and will be disappointed that another alien race got here first!


  24. I love how you wrote this, so cute. I even applied my own thought process to what I saw the aliens (and many humans, in fact, as I just said I do it too ;]). My thought was: Hah! They obviously must act the way we do, applying their own logic to something they cannot completely understand as they don’t live it.


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