Human Society Defensively Explained to Aliens
Evan Waite & River Clegg's hilarious piece from Issue 6
This is our Sunday post, which often (though not always) dips into the deep, deep archives of The American Bystander, which Newsweek correctly called “the last great humor magazine.”
Paid subscriptions are currently a big part of keeping the operation going. For $50 annually ($4.17/month) you get PDFs of our upcoming print issues (they are moving along nicely!) as well as forever-access to archival posts like this one. So! Consider tinkering with your subscription in the direction of tossing $4.17 in our shoebox.
Welcome to Earth! Care for a beer?
Beer? Oh, it’s a thing we drink to make ourselves feel good, even though it almost always makes us feel bad. It’s really popular. Sometimes we go into special buildings where they serve beer. The beer costs much more to obtain inside these buildings, but we accept this because there are often attractive people in there that we would like to kiss.
Kissing is when we put our tongues inside each other’s mouths and hope not to catch a disease.
No, you sound gross. This? It’s a gym bag; I was about to go to the gym. Gyms are unpleasant buildings where we lift heavy things called weights. This process is boring and excruciating, but it makes our arms slightly larger, which we like.
No, it makes perfect sense. I can tell you don’t lift because your tentacles are thin and puny.
Can you repeat that? Your high-pitched alien whine is difficult to detect for my muscular human ears.
It’s a newspaper. The headline is about one of our many wars. War is horrible, but sometimes it’s necessary because we need oil. We could all just share the oil and live in peace, but we definitely won’t do that.
Because we don’t feel like it.
Oil is this black liquid deep in the ground made of crushed dinosaur bones and stuff. We use it for energy.
Obviously the sun could provide us with more energy — it’s the sun! But we don’t know what to do with that information.
Because we refuse to invest in solar energy. It’s impractical. Or too expensive. I forget which.
Solar-powered spacecraft? That’s nice. Good for you.
Yes, we’re aware that global warming could lead to our extinction. What’s your point?
Look, we’d just rather subsidize oil companies, okay? They need money, too!
Money is inedible green paper that we value above all else. No, you seem stupid.
Maybe Earth isn’t for you. Nothing personal, but aliens should stay with their own kind. Human cultures aren’t usually too welcoming to newcomers anyway. We even have a name for it: xenophobia.
Of course it’s illogical! You think we don’t know that? We start the word with an x even though it sounds like a z. We embrace the illogical! We make choices because they’re meanspirited and self-destructive! Take a look at human art sometime. The Iliad is basically about some Greek guys who kill each other because they’re insecure about the size of their genitals.
Yeah, we know that’s a stupid thing to worry about! And it’s without a doubt the human male’s biggest preoccupation! My ex Carol said I was the biggest she’s ever had! Call her up if you don’t believe me.
God, talking to you is a pain in my ass. And before you ask, God is a symbol we’ve created to make sense of our loneliness in an uncaring, empty universe. We know there’s no actual proof He exists.
Wait. Seriously? You guys have God, too?
And He sent you to convert our species?
Nah, we’re good.
Your God can make my penis even bigger?
This changes things.
EVAN WAITE is a producer on Family Guy and has written for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Onion, The New Yorker and Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History.
RIVER CLEGG has written for The Onion, Clickhole, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. River has appeared in The American Bystander since Issue 1 in 2015.