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Driver's Seat
How aliens will capture Earth
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Fm: Commanding Officer, Earth Invasion Spy Team.

To: Headquarters of Planet T55-B, Constellation 23 Skiddoo

Subject: How to capture Planet Earth.

TEXT FOLLOWS: After a six-month visit to Planet Earth by our undercover Spy Team, we believe we have found a simple, effective means to cripple or disarm the Earthlings a short time before Planet T55-B forces land on Earth to conquer it.

Our suggested method: Remove all balls from the Earth.

During our intense spy research, our team discovered that billions of Earthlings are afflicted by forms of madness based on the worship of balls. Following is a brief description of several of these ball-centered obsessions.

GOLF. Vast areas of prime real estate have been set aside and divided into nine or 18 segments. At the end of each segment is a small hole, or cup. Each week, hordes of Earthlings armed with expensive clubs savagely attack small white balls and attempt to direct the balls into the cups by using the smallest number of strokes.

BASEBALL. This pursuit occurs primarily in nations of the upper Western Hemisphere. There, large cities – some of them afflicted by gross poverty – have built luxurious stadiums where nine-member groups of players center their attention on a stitched, leather-covered ball. The players throw the ball in various directions, or violently strike at the ball with wooden sticks, and then run wildly to reach canvas-covered bags of sand called bases. Meanwhile, spectators cheer, curse, hurl insults and consume huge quantities of overpriced, ill-prepared food, as well as beer, a liquid that often causes delusions and destructive behavior.

FOOTBALL. Two opposing teams, in heavily padded uniforms, attempt to gain possession of an elongated ball known as a pigskin. Each advances it toward a goal line by throwing, kicking or carrying the pigskin. Opposing players bodily assault the team holding the pigskin. Lifelong injuries often occur. On the sidelines, young women in skimpy skirts dance, cheer and shout code words such as “You can win, Winsockee!” and “Go, you Gators!”

BASKETBALL. At opposite ends of a large room, two metal rings, or hoops, are suspended 10 feet above a wooden floor. Beneath each ring is an open-ended net that slows the descent of a large leather ball after it has been inserted into the hoop by any of the players. Each team has five players on the floor at one time. Most of the players are about 8 feet tall. Each team has a head coach who stands on the sideline, screaming advice and obscenities. Victory is attained by stuffing the ball through the hoop more often than the opposing team does. The losing team shuffles back to a locker room, and for a short time considers suicide. (In basketball, as with other sports, Earthlings tend to despise losers.)

TENNIS. Two players face each other on opposite sides of a net stretched in the middle of the combat zone. Using oval-shaped weapons (“rackets”), the players strike at a small ball and try to propel it so that it eludes an opponent’s ability to whack the ball back across the net. Victory goes to the player who successfully returns the ball more often than his/her opponent. Some players grunt loudly with each whack at the ball. Children are employed to scamper after loose balls in the combat zone. Players occasionally berate a sideline official who decides if and when a ball is playable.

SOCCER. In this sport, players pursue a medium-sized ball on a large field surrounded by a hundred thousand homicidal supporters of the two teams. Players are permitted to kick the ball or butt it with their heads. The object of the game is to put the ball into the opponents’ net. Although the sport requires enormous skill and stamina, a score seldom occurs, usually by accident or dumb luck. After major soccer matches, spectators try to kill each other before burning down the stadium.

A common feature of several of these activities is the payment of extravagant sums of money to the participants. Most of the money comes from unimaginative TV advertisements by companies that produce beer, automobiles, fattening food and insurance coverage.

By destroying all the balls on Earth, our forces will cause Earthlings to become confused, heartbroken and bereft of any reason to go on. With no balls to play with, Earthlings will find little meaning in their lives. The next step in our plan to conquer Earth is to eliminate all of the planet’s abilities to produce balls of any kind. We will do this by launching cyber attacks on the ball manufacturers. The attacks will cause any future products to be shaped like cubes, not balls.

Bob Driver is a former columnist for the Clearwater Sun. His email address is
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