I stood in front of the toy display staring at the small box with increasing curiosity. It boasted a plastic, flip top Star Trek communicator. It has buttons that light up and it even makes sounds. A small instruction book accompanies the handheld device with an impressive table of contents to guide the novice.
As you might guess, I am a novice. At least in the realm of sci-fi. I may have a lot of milage on me in other areas, and a fair amount of useless knowledge about subjects that hardly apply to day to day life, but when it comes to interplanetary travel, alternate universes, and parallel realities I admit my well is dry.
So you are wondering why, with all five of my children past the age of small, gimmicky, walkie-talkie toys (now that they are each armed with a smart phone to match their smart mouth, teen angst driven dialoguing) I am standing here and staring intently at this particular toy. Maybe you AREN’T wondering. Maybe you happened upon this article quite by accident and, intrigued by the mischiefous arch of my brow, the devilish glint in my eye, you were pulled unwittingly into my web of intrigue. However you happened here, however desperately you wish you had opted to follow that link to the quiz that tells you which former president you most resemble (I got Teddy Roosevelt. I think it’s my moustache that nailed it.) here you shall stay to the end of my diatribe for I have great wisdom to impart.
Since this past November, Super Tuesday to be exact, I have found myself reeling and trying to understand everything around me. Small things like “am I actually awake or am I still asleep and this is all just a weird dream?” And BIG things like “how the hell does someone so devoid of decency, so openly bigoted, so shamelessly self serving, and so willing to lie a shocking percentage of the time ascend to the highest public service office of our nation?” I’m not a naive Pollyanna, under the illusion that this politician is the only one guilty of these things, it’s just that THIS guy is WAAAAAAAY off the reservation. WAAAAAAY off. Like, maybe even outer space, other dimension off.
I don’t understand anything anymore. I mean, I watch the dialogue between this new president and “us” and I honestly think we aren’t speaking the same language. “Alternate facts”? I don’t know where all of YOU came from, but the global consensus seems to be the same: “alternate facts” are not “facts”. They are lies and when I was a kid, the WORST thing you could be called was a liar. There was even a SONG about it. You did NOT want the kids on the playground singing THAT song about you. Not ever. You’d rather hear them call into question the legality of your parentage than to go down in the books as a liar. A liar liar with your pants on fire. HELL no. Call me a bastard and we can still be friends. Call me a liar and it is ON.
So where does this rebranding of lies come from?
A parallel universe. A distant galaxy far, far away (oddly enough apparently close to Russia though). Another dimension in time and space. Planet Earth swung too close to a worm hole during orbit and we have all been sucked in and thrust millions of light years away from everything we know and understand. It’s the only reasonable explanation.
Like Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise, we are now forced to roam through space as we navigate home. We find ourselves temporarily stranded in a place who’s ways and language we do not understand. Thus the need for the Star Trek communicator. A device we can hold up to our TVs and computers and stream the strange rantings from the leader of this place and his band of hostile aliens and translate the sounds into words we understand. I feel certain a lot is being lost in translation…
So our survival comes down to three things: tenacity, ingenuity and a desperate hope for a better tomorrow as we make our way through this strange world.
Oh, and a child’s toy. Somehow it just seems fitting.