My sister and I decided to plant a time capsule for the aliens. We were too old to indulge in our fantasies then but were careening smack dab through a conspiracy phase that began with what was - only just probably - a lightning bug way up in the sky. It chafed against everything Father Don had been teaching us about the universe since we were old enough to pick our noses. On second thought, maybe that was what we liked best.
A Saturday night was relinquished to the task, though when it came to choosing the artifacts we were lost. Our pens stood poised over notebook paper so long the tips drooled black holes you could see three pages behind. Every relic required a specific purpose, needed to reveal something profound about the world as we saw it.
The Pros of the first proposed object, a hairdryer, were:
- The American cult of beauty is fucked and that's some anthropological wisdom worth passing on right there!
- Uncle Jesse put a hairdryer in his capsule on Full House.
- If there is no outlet, how will they turn it on?
- Hair doesn't fossilize. (Side note: we considered leaving the instructions featuring a cartoon girl with beachy waves.)
The hairdryer got nixed in the end to be replaced by a pink vinyl makeup bag, which spoke the same words about vapidity more or less. That solved the problem of finding a proper receptacle. Then there was our mother's old cell phone as a marker of our collective and imagined sense of togetherness with other humans. Broken headphones symbolic of the sometimes-necessity of detachment. Buddy's collar as real and true proof of unconditional love. And after some deliberation, a ten dollar bill with mustache graffiti - because isn't the idea of capitalism just crazy sometimes?
When our parents went to bed we dug a hole by the oak out back. We buried our treasure with the same care we'd buried our shoeboxed dead gerbil in the first grade. Inside was a note:
"To the aliens employing your best cryptologists,
May you find ready fulfillment in easier ways."
I never told my sister this, but I dug it up again two years later for the ten dollar bill. I needed it for a pack of cigarettes.