Two college guys just recently got arrested for a UFO hoax. You can watch the news reel online: http://www.yahoo.com/?r956=1238991604
But there are so many problems here. Seriously? A UFO hoax – on April Fool’s Day no less! There’s a very strong part of me that says, look, if you got taken by a practical joke (and believe me, I have!) then you suck up and laugh with everyone else. You don’t arrest the offending party. These guys weren’t even streaking anywhere, for God’s sakes!
And all this coverage – including them getting arrested – really puts a damper on my own plans. When I was a kid my father taught me how to make a “UFO”. (My grandfather taught me how to catch vultures and monkeys (not at the same time), so being taught how to make a UFO didn’t seem out of the ordinary in my family.) While my Dad did warn me that several people who had made and launched fake UFOs in the past had brought the FBI to their doorsteps, I never fully believed this. And have subsequently had ‘make and launch fake UFO’ on my bucket list since I was small. You know, just one of those ‘when the time is right’ ideas tucked in the back of my head.
My UFO begins with candles, Balsa wood, and dry cleaning bags (they shimmer, oooooh). Then they get arranged into a hot air balloon set up. And hopefully it ends with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith wiping my memory with one of those handy red zap sticks. (Of course, if they wipe my memory, I’ll just do it again, the next time the wind is right.)
But, I am afraid that this “hoax” just bumped ‘make UFO’ to my real bucket list – like when I’m really dying and being arrested won’t matter much. There’s an argument about whether the guys were arrested for fooling the public (stupid public!) or for endangering people. Yeah, yeah I get it – it’s not right to send lit road flares into the sky tied to balloons. They might land on a roof and burn a house down. Blah blah blah. Hey, what’s a little risk if it’s fun? Besides, they sent up road flares – that’s dangerous. It could cause some trouble, but candles? dry-cleaner bags? that’s just standard good fun.
What makes it still so tempting is that at one point in the article there’s a question as to whether the guys are only facing misdemeanor charges – which carry a $98 fine. Well, hell, I’ve got that in my back pocket. That really makes me want to launch my UFOs anyway. I can just hand the fine over to the judge and say “That was fun! It was so worth $98!” Unfortunately, this begs the question: How much does ‘contempt of court’ cost?
While the college students who did this have been hailed as ‘bright, but stupid’ just for launching the things, part of the issue is that they made (and posted online!) videos of them making and launching the “UFO”s. So, of course they weren’t really trying to make anyone truly believe the aliens were coming.
Again, I am kind of shooting myself in the foot here by announcing that I’d like to build a “UFO”, too. So that puts a damper on my project for a long while. Bummer.
After all this, I think maybe the aliens should come. Far scarier than people thinking these were actual UFOs, or even the very real possibility that someone’s house might catch on fire, is the fact that the news reel repeatedly called the contraptions ‘bright’ and ‘intelligent’, and the hoax referred to as ‘elaborate’. Dude, it was a couple flares tied to balloons! Literally, it’s not rocket science.
Ah hell. Bring $98. See you outside after it gets dark!
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