You may have noticed that James, the usual occupant of this prime editorial real estate, is somewhere else right now, enjoying a fulfilling human life. So instead of his well-informed, razor-sharp wit, you get whatever this is. And by “this,” I mean the vestigial remnants of my narrative voice, the written version of that part right above your ass that would have been a tail if you would have been born a few million years earlier.

Correction: the part right above your ass that would have been a tail according to the theory of evolution. It’s rude of me to assume that everyone is on board with the idea that somewhere down their family tree—past all the ignorant pieces of shit and endless generations of toiling peasants and cave dwellers and proto-human cross-breeders—there’s a bunch of weird man-faced monkeys swinging around in trees with tails and other fucked up primate features. To some people, that’s not just offensive, it’s downright sacrilege.

And I don’t blame them. No one wants to think of themselves as the result of millions of years on monkeydom distilled into … well, whatever this is. After all, I’m special. My feelings are unique. No one else knows what it’s like to be me, especially a dirty goddamn apeman. But what if, just for the sake of argument, you actually weren’t special? What if your deepest feelings were just the result of the most basic biological impulses filtered through a brain that evolved to best figure where to eat, who to fuck and how to stay out of the way of the animals that evolved big scary teeth or razor-sharp talons in the pursuit of those very same noble goals? What if whatever story you’ve convinced yourself of to make you feel special was just your brain’s way of keeping you on the path to the next meal, the next potential mate? Sure, that kind of takes away a bit of the mystique, but isn’t it also sort of liberating? No? Yeah, you’re right. It’s actually pretty depressing. Sorry.

Don’t fret, though. That’s just one theory of many. Of course, everyone knows the big ones, the mainstream ones. Dudes in the desert begatting each other and all that. But there’s some pretty solid up-and-comers making the rounds these days too.

Make fun of it all you want, but Ancient Aliens seems like some pretty plausible shit to me. Some self-aware species fucks up their planet to the point where it’s no longer inhabitable (sounds pretty familiar so far, right?) so they get on board their fancy spacecraft and set off to the literal New World, the planet Earth, where they become—according to whichever version of the story you believe—the breeding stock for mankind or the guiding hand of humanity’s ascent, the “man behind the curtain,” if you will. Excuse me, “humanoid alien behind the curtain.”

The best part about the ancient alien theory is that you can mold it to fit squarely into whatever other theory you’ve spent your life passionately advocating for or donating money, time or thought to. Believe in God? He/she was just an alien. Evolution? Obviously the result of superior alien technology. Believe that your entire reality is just a simulation? Ahhh, fam, you know who’s footing the power bill for that shit: ALIENS.

The best part about ancient alien theory is that we don’t just get to be the end result of our own ancient alien story, but we get to be the beginning of someone else’s. After all, where do you think all the rich people on Earth are gonna go when we finally wear out our own planet? No, really, where? Because I have no idea. Elon Musk won’t return my calls.

Like with anything else, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of all these competing theories. And the best part is, you’ll probably live and die without ever really knowing for sure. Or even if you did know, no one would believe you. No one believes anyone anymore. The downside of realizing that anything is possible is feeling like nothing is impossible. I didn’t even write this column. You did. Maybe no one did.

Anyway, I got a spaceship to catch. See you next time, nerds.

    Daniel Taylor

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    Loud noises with Cold Blue Mountain, Surrogate and West By Swan. Writer, attorney, cat petter, birdman, etc.