Vice President Mike Pence announced plans for Space Force, a new military branch that presumably would be dedicated to saving us from the evils of those weird octopus dudes Will Smith killed in Independence Day. To be fair, octopuses are insanely smart little freaks of nature. I’m fairly confident that in addition to being able to shape-shift into anything from an old tire to your least favorite sister, Martha, they can read minds and may eventually take over the world. The octopuses we have on Earth must be stopped, let alone the ones falling to Earth from the evil skies!
However, I felt profoundly sad when I heard of this “Star Wars”-like mission. From the time I was a child, I have wondered why the assumption we have about aliens is they are just as evil, trigger-happy, murderous and territory-spreading as we are. Could it not be that on the planet made of one massive diamond (it’s a true thing; look it up), the endlessly reflective rainbow light made all of its little marshmallow creatures, I don’t know, happy? Perhaps their days are spent building crystal snowmen and living in shiny castles like the one in “Frozen.”
Financially, it behooves us to think the skies are filled with Alf over Jabba the Hutt. I know I’m not the only person who thinks Space Force sounds a tad on the insanely expensive side — so expensive, in fact, we might want to welcome an attack from the marshmallow men of the diamond planet. Rumor has it their guns shoot tennis bracelets. Surely, the money could be spent on something more practical, such as vaccines for toe fungus and loud talkers.
A friend of mine recently shared what she hopes our government would spend the money on. She strayed from the more expected answers of better schools, healthy drinking water and access to health care for all. Instead, she focused on a very specific group: new moms.
“I hear that in Russia, they are paying people money to go home and have a baby,” she said, her face contorting and grimacing oddly. I had heard something along those lines, too. Many countries, in fact, have been trying to figure out what to do about the dwindling population and rapidly declining birthrates.
“If the government wants to get women to have more babies, you need to help the moms out,” she said. I agreed. “Absolutely. Affordable child care is desperately needed,” I said.
“Oh, yeah, that, too. But I was talking about diet plans,” she said, inadvertently sticking out her tongue. My friend recently began an incredibly restrictive but also incredibly effective diet plan. It also is incredibly expensive. The diet plan consists of exclusively eating energy bars that, by the look of her face as she chewed, are not what you’d call tasty.
“How about after we new mamas are done putting on 80 pounds to bring you children, you give us a nice, paid-for diet plan so we can get our bodies back?” she exclaimed, adding, “Also, wine!”
“You want our government to pay for energy bars and wine?” I asked.
“Yes. Yes, I do. I also want a barbershop quartet to occasionally drop by the house with one of those car-sized checks and sing me a harmonized song about how I deserve this money simply because I’m raising the next generation.”
A barbershop quartet did seem like something sorely lacking from my own life experiences, but when I asked her whether there might not be better things the government could spend its money on, she rolled her eyes and said, “What, like Space Force?”
Then she shuddered — not so much from the idea of Space Force but from the disgusting energy bar she was forcing herself to swallow.
I agreed that there undoubtedly are better things we could spend money on than Space Force, but I added that if money would be going toward diet plans for new moms, the food would have to taste better. It was then that my friend explained that the bars are only for a month. Then she’ll be restricted to lean meats.
“What are lean meats?” I asked.
“You know, turkey, salmon, scallops, octopus.”
“Oh, yeah, and anything like it.”
Like space octopus?
Mr. Pence, I’m no Neil deGrasse Tyson, but I’m thinking we may be able to kill two birds with one stone.