Bigfoot was ending. Then a new In Search Of was beginning. This One was In Search Of UFO’s.
“What else is on?” Mom asked. They didn’t have cable. Her other choices were golf, basketball, and a public television pledge drive.
“Lets watch more bullshit.” She said, taking a swig of Seven Up.
So, onto the UFO’s.
My mom asks me to get her some more pretzels. I offer to bring her the whole box (Mr Salty – blue box) she says with her weak arms its too hard to pull them out of the box and insulated bag lining. Just grab a handful and dump them on the tray, she says. I comply and when I get back and sit down in the light brown chair next to her hospital bed, the urine bag I am now used to, just a little bit, hanging over the side, I notice it is greater than halfway full, and I know my mom doesn’t want to have me drain it and reinsert the catheter.
“Mom, how much pop have you drank?” I ask.
“Why?” she asks.
Then she looks down toward me, her bed is high up relative to the chair.
She glances at the urine bag.
“Oh” she says. “Get me some saltines.”
I comply again and grab a whole wrapped line of saltines for her, the single squares packaged in a long line of about twenty, rip it open, and place the bag next to the pretzels.
The show is starting. In Search Of UFOs.
Mom?” I ask, wondering if I can grab a couple of pretzels off her tray.
She shushes me with her finger on her mouth. “Lets watch stupid farmers get kidnapped by aliens.” She says.
Nimoy is again narrating the opening sequence. The show opens showing the woods, and trees, from aerial vews.
“Is this Bigfoot again?” I ask.
“I don’t know.” She says. “Shhhh!”
The narrator begins by saying something like “They come in the dead of night….in fields or farms or the middle of a forest.”
“Why wouldn’t aliens just land in Washington DC to establish contact?” my mom asks rhetorically, I figure.
“Maybe they don’t want to be noticed, yet.”
“It makes us look stupid, when they kidnap these stupid backwoods people, and tell them they have a cure for ALS – or cancer, or whatever.”
Point taken. She is right.
“Maybe they are waiting around for the right time.” I say.
“Well, if they are trying to take over the world, they probably think we’re stupid, if all they are kidnapping is these stupid people.”
After the opening credits, where they show still photos of the loch ness photo (blurry), Bigfoot still frame from the film (blurry, grainy) Emelia Earhardt, Stonehedge and those Easter Island statues, Nimoy comes on to open the episode.
“Isn’t he an alien?” my mom asks.
“He’s a Vulcan.” I say.
“There’s the proof.” She says. “He looks like an alien, even without his makeup.”
“I saw him in a Western – Gunsmoke or Death Velley. He looked like an alien gunslinger.”
I smile. She shushes me again.
Nimoy speaks perfectly logical, as expected, and talks about all the saucerlike vehicles photographed – again grainy and blurry.
The most compelling part of the episode though was the part where some guy in Wyoming was abducted by aliens. He loved the woods and hunting, and in one October in 1974, he was hunting and a little after 4 o clock this giant guy wearing a white robe showed up – although he too was a blurry figure. This guy, the hunter, blacked out, and when he came to he realized some time had elapsed. I love the reenactments. They show this guy waking up in the woods and looking around. They show his friends finding him and placing him into one of their pickups. He was incoherent. I’ve seen that behavior in Northwestern Wisconsin during hunting season. It’s called being drunk.
Anyway, this guy couldn’t recognize his wife, and he was disoriented for a long period of time. Instead of calling a doctor, he calls a UFO institute.
“Bullshit.” My mom says.
“Why?” I ask.
“He doesn’t go to a hospital for further treatment for an aneurism, or a stroke. His first thoughts are to call a UFO Institute. Maybe that’s what happened to me, I don’t have ALS. I’ve been kidnapped by aliens. I went to the Mayo Clinic instead.”
The UFO Institute sends a shrink to evaluate the people, who are obviously traumatized after being kidnapped by aliens, as I would be.
The shrink puts this hunter guy under hypnosis. The reason being, says the shrink, when aliens kidnap people to study them, they then tell the people they won’t remember anything after this, and then they throw magic alien dust to make the people forget their experience. The shrink says it not only with a straight face, but as if he has this confirmed through some particular research of his own on some alien race. ‘What else would explain these abductees not remembering?” he asks rhetorically.
“Maybe it didn’t happen” my mom answers, rhetorically. “Bullshit.” She says as she takes a couple pretzels and chomps them down.
Under hypnosis the guy starts remembering. A blurry tall guy that looks human, dressed in a white robe, speaking in English, evidently, motions the hunter guy to come with him into his spaceship, which is, of course, a saucer like vehicle. There’s no door to the spaceship. They don’t explain it, but it sounds like he gets beamed into the ship. Remember, the show Star Trek had already aired by then, so its not like it would be far fetched to believe there was such a thing as being beamed up. After all, Nimoy WAS narrating.
The shrink is skeptical. The truth here, the Doctors name is actually Sprinkle. Doctor Sprinkle. That’s a bad sign when the shrink of the UFO Institute thinks you might be lying. This is the guy who put out the magic alien fairy dust memory lost theory. But he confirms through some test that the guy is actually telling the truth.
“Bullshit” my mom says. She starts laughing, and that makes me laugh.
What does that have to do with my middle aged life?
Because I am unclear of the supernatural, I think a lot of nuts are out there keeping a lot of mythology of these things alive. I also think there are sincere people who might have seen or experienced something, so I don’t know. My mom was facing death right in the eye, and when we’d watch these shows I noticed she wanted to believe, as they say in X Files, she wanted to think that miracles were possible, that Aliens found the cure for her disease and would share it with someone who maybe wasn’t some hick out in the woods mixing his Vicodin with a twelve pack.
She grew more disenchanted the more we’d watch that show or shows like it on Sunday afternoons. Pretty soon to her, all the shows were just bullshit, and as she entered her “acceptance” stage of her own death, before ping ponging back to her “anger” stage again, she realized they were nothing more than what they always were – an extension of the Enquirer magazine at the checkouts of all the grocery stores she shopped at.
The Enquirer was her candy, and she always bought one when she went shopping.
She also bought candy, her favorite being M&M’s.