On September 5th, 1977, the space probe Voyager 1 was launched with a golden record and a course set for deep space. Stored within the record’s grooves was a selection of sounds by NASA including, among others, a heartbeat, whale song, The Magic Flute, and “Johnny B. Goode”.
The minds behind Voyager wished that as their probe hurtled into deep space, if any advanced, extraterrestrial races were to stumble upon it they’d receive a hearty glimpse into our planet’s wonders. The problem with this, though, is that the selections are all too wholesome, too explainable. The poor aliens playing this record are going to think Earth is Mozart and whales 24/7.
Personally, I think space deserves a proper warning about people. They should know about the megachurches, Japanese game shows, race wars, Linkin Park, basically all the rough edges that make us us.
We had really ought to send a second probe out, this time filled with a liquorice all-sorts of humanity’s quirks. And a great candidate for that, I think, would be Omega-3 enriched cod liver oil, the strangest object on earth. Why?
I think it’s funny that we’ve got a cure for depression. They’re saying now that if you don’t get enough vitamin D it can cause mental illness, so people have started drinking fish oil, which is full of the stuff, as a sort of preventative measure. The fact that something as a tenuous and vital to human identity as depressive thinking is acknowledged so casually as something so malleable, is something aliens should know. Norwegians specifically are so nonchalant about this, they talk about drinking fish oil the same way you’d talk about fighting a cold with a glass of orange juice.
And they drink it down, every one of them. They all willingly drink this slop on a daily basis, because they have the vague notion that ”it’s good for them”. The health effects of liver oil aren’t baseless, I’m sure, but I doubt most of these people did serious research before making this major life decision, and for that I can’t help but get this Jonestown vibe from all these people talking about a drink that fixes them.
And, furthermore, it all comes from a fish. It makes a person think about how exactly they found out about its healing properties. Apparently it was the ancient vikings who found out about it, which is strange since I never really thought of the vikings as being a depressed sort of group. I suppose they could have suffered a bit of ennui between raids. I’m sure there were some days where Tryggvason or whoever just wasn’t at one-hundred percent.
How does it even get there, I wonder? Out of all the physical forms mental well-being could take, it ends up in the belly of a cod. Natural selection just happened to create a magic brain vitamin out of chance only to lob it into the ocean, far away from the only animal that can get depressed.
I suppose a creator could have done this, but that raises other questions. What kind of sick sense of humor would He have to have then? He could have put all those Omega-3’s in cocoa beans, in filet mignon, but no, it had to be in fish bile, didn’t it? Is this a penance? Is He seriously still angry about His son? We’ve apologized like a million times for that already. God’s just being difficult at this point.
So there. The mysteries of the Earth and the people who live on it, all in a bottle of Møllers Tran. I’d say it’s a prime choice for Voyager 2017.