17. Free Food

Cartel Hogg was enraged when I accused his family of controlling air on Lemmingo. So per a settlement agreement, I am posting a more balanced account of their role. Historically the Hoggs have promoted free food if you eat plants, fruits, flowers, grasses, and twigs on the public lands. Of course, if you want Zundu Mochi or Cereal Crusted Eggplant, you have to cough up bitcoins at Caesar Hogg’s Palacedome.

Caesar follows a spiritual leader who preaches about love and peace. Some Lemmingolian prophets emphasize meditation and prayer as key to enlightenment. Others advocate good works and unselfish acts. A few combine all those elements. Caesar cherry picks a message of rendering unto all the big and little Caesars what is theirs. The Caesars have constructed artificial boundaries on Lemmingo to segregate and inhibit the unworthy from crossing borders to the flows of milk and honey. This preempts and saves afterlife authorities the trouble of making so many judgments later. Lemmingo is a primitive planet, so the radical concept of sharing is in its infancy. Many are still hoarding and arguing about whether you can take your Bitcoins into The Great Beyond. Judgment Day has been moved up to Every Day where everyone is a judge judging the other judges.

Lemmingo has been roiling ever since Earthlings arrived and leased land for their space station. Earthling immigrants are a threat to the established social and economic order. The controversy is far from settled but the newcomers have infused cryptocurrencies, jobs, and diseases into the economy in return for a lease on a small plot of land for their space station. Arguments are swirling in the Lemmingolian Congress and court system. If I say more, Cookie claims I will violate both the letter and spirit of the settlement agreement.


16. Head Lice Assassin

My popularity has cratered. Cartel Hogg threatened to slap my face for making his family and Planet Lemmingo look bad in my last post. Cookie’s wife said that post was too “preachy.” Fellow Lemmingolians landed in Earth, Texas (population 1066), on the spacecraft after mine. Not the best location to punch in the GPS unless you crave immigration crises. Cookie advises me to stay away from Texas and apply for employment no Earthlings would want so that I do not steal anyone’s job.

I searched several job websites [citation needed] and Head Lice Assassin caught my attention. I do not know if the position entails eradicating all head lice or just assassinating the Leader of the Lice. I am swiping left on Sewer Swimmer and Odor Tester/Armpit Sniffer. Other unappealing job opportunities include Slaughterhouse Worker, Mortuary Attendant/Embalmer, Pest Controller, Pet Food Taster, Crime Scene Cleaner, Festival Litter Picker, and Portable Toilet Pumper. A Semen Collector receives only $17,000 annually, so no one is doing that for the money. They must just love animals. If willing to relocate to India, I could be a Street Ear Cleaner but worry about popping eardrums like bubble wrap. My Catch 22: Why do I want a job nobody wants?

Cookie thinks he can get me employed as a Mascot. Sports teams and other promotions use them and I have a built in costume. Maybe the Washington Commanders football team in the nation’s capital would consider changing their name to Washington Lemmings. Perhaps the Seattle Mariners could replace their Moose mascot with a Lemming. Or at least change their name to Seattle Moose. Neither the Mariners nor the Moose have inspired any success, so Cookie suggests turning a three foot Lemming loose in the stadium to see what happens.

15. Freebies

So many things on Earth are free. Vacations are not free but many vaccinations are. You can go to a library and read books for free. Cookie says his taxes fund libraries, so those books are not free. But he pays taxes whether he reads or not. I am not including free lunches that come with hidden strings. I am talking about waking up early to see the sunrise. Or sleeping in, taking a nap, or just breathing. Singing in the shower, listening to music, dancing. Going for a walk, smelling flowers, people watching. Listening to birds, looking for wildlife. Going to a public beach, wiggling feet in sand or water, swimming with friends. Stepping on crunchy leaves or popping bubblewrap. Attending a free concert or visiting a museum on free day. Doodling, writing in a journal, or blogging on a free platform. Building a snowman in the winter or fanning yourself on a hot day. Snuggling with your pet. Meditating, stretching, stargazing. Scratching an itch, hugging, making an apology. Laughing, looking at old photos. Putting on your favorite shirt straight from the dryer. Eating vegetables and fruit from your garden.

On Lemmingo we have no birds and we pay for air in Bubbledomes owned by the Hogg Cartel. Lemmingo air is thin and when the sandstorms swirl, you can barely breathe. The rich can move loved ones into a Domehome if they have trouble breathing. Some families save all year for a good airday inside one of the Amusodomes. On the plus side, only the Hogg Cartel can afford vehicles or health care, so Lemmingolians cannot complain about the high cost of gas or medical treatments. How odd that Earthlings sacrifice so much of their free stuff while engaging in complaint and fight competitions.

14. Queries Needing Answers

Beth: Can you sign your name?

Lem: I have trouble even printing it in a straight line but hope to learn cursive for signing autographs.

Downer: What is your biggest disappointment about Earth?

Lem: That monkeys are used as slave laborers picking coconuts in Thailand for coconut water. Monkeys are above lemmings in the hierarchy. I am nervous because I hate harvesting coconuts.

Curious: Do you miss friends on Lemmingo?

Lem: I do, but a spacecraft full of Lemmingolians laid off by Nike is enroute to Earth.

Weary: How long is this serial going to last?

Lem: At least 14 episodes. Stamper is seeking an injunction because I slashed half his visitors in less than a month. He cannot prove monetary damage but claims emotional and mental distress. Stamper does seem crazy but that is a preexisting condition.

Future: What are your plans?

Lem: I am filming a documentary examining why Cinderella’s father gets off so easy. He was reportedly a prince or merchant but abandoned Cinderella to a wicked stepmother and her vacuously cruel daughters. Before entering that second marriage, he would have to be comatose not to recognize the warning signs. His lack of due diligence makes him a horrible father complicit in the abuse of his own daughter.

Driver: Is it true you are applying for a driver’s license?

Lem: Yes, Cookie spends too much time in space and needs a driver. Yesterday he wondered why so many cars coming toward him on a one way street were honking and flashing their lights. He asked me what that thump was. I told him it was an old lady in the crosswalk but the good news was seeing her in the rearview mirror back on her feet and waving her arm.

13. The Rounder

Cookie’s daughter Doe loves my story about Rounder who crash landed on Lemmingo when I was young. He was round with brain functions well insulated inside his middle. His four eyes were spaced equidistant from each other. His orifices and openings opened and closed for smelling, hearing, ingesting fuel, and disposing of waste. His flaps covered four different limbs folded inside but they could be extended to perform functions like grabbing, touching, moving objects, using tools, reproducing, and the like. The body itself was a perpetual motion machine that could roll anywhere by shifting internal weights. Use of the limbs enhanced leverage for climbing or descending steep places. Rounder was just over two feet tall and came from a planet one quarter the size of Earth. Back when Rounder’s ancestors thought their planet was flat, their village was running out of room. The elders sent two search parties in opposite directions away from the settlement to find more resources. The land mass they traveled on was about 100 miles wide, pinned between an ocean and a large river. The tribe of seven led by Hebdo Mad covered about ten miles a day and kept moving. The larger group led by Semino Mad stopped more often and permanently settled near the river after six months. Early in the second year, the two tribes ran into each other on the beach and discovered they lived on a round planet. Many centuries later, their descendants mastered space travel and Rounder crash landed on Lemmingo. I watched him make repairs and he taught me his language. “Screwyou” meant “You hand me screwdriver.” He often praised my “creative ideas” with the Rounder word: “creepyidiot.” Eventually he fixed his spacecraft and as he boarded, I shouted out, “See you around.” But I never did.

12. Getting Schooled

Cookie’s five year old daughter Doe hates going to preschool in the morning but also resists leaving school in the afternoon. She basically hates doing whatever you want her to do. Even at age five, she has figured out the reverse psychology trick. The morning after I moved in with Cookie’s family, Doe sauntered up to her dad and asked, “Shouldn’t you be getting me ready for school?” She seemed annoyed at being deprived of her resistance if her father failed to do his job. He explained that it was Saturday. Sudden school cancellations are one of life’s great pleasures. On Lemmingo, we were overjoyed when classes shut down after overnight sandstorms. We could spend the day building sandmen or joining search parties looking for the Conga line of Lemmingolians lost in the smog. Doe is now home schooling me in her spare time. My observations and insights so far:

  1. QWERTY is not the beginning of the alphabet. English speakers just string together random letters ABCDEF and so on. All letters are not created equal. Q and Z are the rarest and so are assigned the most points (10).
  2. Science is built on the principle that time flies when you are having fun. I am having a lot more fun than I ever realized.
  3. Writing in cursive has been eliminated because you do not need it to send texts or emails.
  4. Math is not creative and no one should bother memorizing the times tables because students have cell phone calculators and the memorization will be just as unnecessary as slide rules well before they graduate.
  5. On Lemmingo, students still memorize prepositions because we blindly follow past practices. We should have been training students how to develop environmental solutions before we allowed the sandstorms to ravage our planet.

11. The Beholder

My Jimmy Fallon interview created so much backlash, whiplash, backsplash, mishmash, and goulash that the My Favorite Martian movie was cancelled. In addition, social media trolls are describing me as short and ugly. Lemmingolians and Martians are both about half the size of Earthlings because they come from planets half the size of Earth (Corollary to Bergmann’s Rule). Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder. That concept has been articulated in different ways since at least the third century B.C. in a Greek version. Margaret Wolfe Hungerford is widely credited with coining the exact phrase in the novel Molly Bawn in 1878. Her wording was more poetically concise than David Hume’s 1742 essay quote: “Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.” That awkward line may have been better than earlier ones by Ben Franklin, Shakespeare, and John Lyly but they and others might disagree because the beauty of words is in the eye of the Beholder. I consulted with the Beholder and he convinced me to get my hair shaved, my fangs filed down, and my claws trimmed. It worked because Cookie allowed me to move in with his family. His three children were originally traumatized by my appearance but now are merely nauseated. I am wondering three things:

(1) Are we done tinkering with Hungerford’s language? I can whittle it to six words: “Some eyes see ugliness as beauty;”

(2) Is Hungerford’s turn of phrase a universal truth or just a polite way of insulting people who value something we do not like? Are we just cleverly denigrating someone else’s spouse, artwork, or dwelling place?

(3) Or do we consider this concept of beauty a profound aspect of our humanity, lemmanity, or insanity and a way to celebrate our diversity?

10. Beer Pong

Following a commercial for Hatch Your Own Spiders Terrarium Kits, we resumed my interview with Jimmy Fallon:

Jimmy: Lem, I understand you love games. Have you tried Beer Pong?

Lem: Not yet, but I love that Earth is all about Games: Olympic Games, X Games, Video Games, Hunger Games, War Games…

Jimmy: Speaking of War Games, tell me about the movie you will be starring in.

Lem: I am really excited that Kimdashian Productions will be shooting a My Favorite Martian remake in Kyiv to support the defense of Ukraine.

Jimmy: That project has come under a firestorm of criticism.

Lem: You mean because Paris Hilton will be playing my love interest?

Jimmy: Well, that too. But some are concerned that you are a non-Martian cast as a Martian.

Lem: And nobody cares that Paris Hilton is playing a rocket scientist?

Jimmy: Well, sure, Wernher von Braun is turning over in his grave but the bigger issue will be you dying your fur reddish green and speaking with a Martian accent when real Martians are available.

Lem: Hunter Biden and Donald Trump Jr. are cast as Martians in the movie Two Martian Horsemen of the Apocalypse and neither of them have even been to Mars. I have been there and some of my best friends are Martian.

Jimmy: How about criticism that this movie is a farce that demeans the life and death struggle of the Ukrainian people?

Lem: I would not call it a farce.

Jimmy: What would you call it?

Lem: A travesty.

Jimmy: Fair enough.

Lem: But we do plan to donate 1% of profits to war relief efforts.

Jimmy: How will you even be able to travel to Ukraine.

Lem: We all have Visa cards.

Jimmy: Okay, now let me introduce you to Beer Pong.

9. King of Lemmingo

I finished dessert and expected to see a deserted desert out my spaceship window. But a full blown festival had sprung up behind the barricades before we landed on hardened California sand. I remained on board in quarantine but Jimmy Fallon conducted a virtual interview with me from his Hollywood office:

Jimmy: Welcome to Earth, Lem. Is that what you prefer to be called?

Lem: No, I prefer King of Lemmingo.

Jimmy: So you are Royalty?

Lem: No, but I would prefer to be. Elvis, Martin Luther, and Kong were all Kings.

Jimmy: Your English is quite good. Where did you learn it?

Lem: In the cafeteria.

Jimmy: What is your favorite food?

Lem: On spacecraft, I like Lemmingade. On Mars, I craved Marshroom Soup. On Lemmingo, every day I ate Holdencram, a combination of plants, moss, grass, bark, and twigs. Generally two cousins would hold me and cram it down my throat.

Jimmy: On Earth, look out for horseradish which is neither horse nor radish. We call it Liar Food. Ultimately, what made you leave Lemmingo?

Lem: The barber kept changing the part in my hair without consulting me.

Jimmy: That is annoying. On earth, when buying your pants, look out for the alteration expert who always makes trousers too tight. What did you like best on Lemmingo?

Lem: The cars run on hazelnuts. Macadamia nuts for premium.

Jimmy: That sounds expensive. Yeah, I’ve got an idea for a car that runs on Bald Eagle heads and Faberge Eggs. What are you planning to do on earth after you get settled, Lem?

Lem: I would like to get involved with Baseball.

Jimmy: Be careful. Plutonium baseball caps are now the number one link to brain cancer. Stay tuned. We will be back after a commercial break.

8. MUCUS Rules

Martian Upper Court for Urgent Stuff (MUCUS) issued a decision: (1) deporting the Americans based on their color, criminality, and [incongruously] their threat to replace Martian workers in the underground mines making margarine, marzipan, and marshmallows; (2) stripping Starship Sagan of all supplies; and (3) allowing me to stay or leave Mars. Captain Quirk retaliated by proclaiming Mars an American territory without representation. I chose Earth because Martian food does not agree with me. I want to live where people and food agree with me. Cookie says I will be famous on Earth. I can tell by the emails filling up my inbox. The protocol requiring me to wear pants turned out well because I am bombarded with mail from promiscuous humans who think I am very sexy. I am also incredibly lucky to be winning so many lotteries. I am discovering long lost relatives, presumably offspring from unauthorized artificial insemination experiments conducted by Dr. Wiesner during visits to my home planet Lemmingo. Lucrative business deals come out of nowhere and fall in my lap. The word is out about my impending wealth; advertisers hawk everything from shower curtains with pockets for phones and iPads to a selfie stick for dogs (phone attachment holds a tennis ball to keep your dog’s attention). I am becoming forgetful as evidenced by overdue taxes, unexpected delivery notices, and debt on credit cards I cannot remember owning. An agency representing Dos Equis asked me to apply for a position as Most Interesting Creature in the Universe. Interestingly enough, I ordered the Audition Package. Stamper did sue me for stealing his Blog but has agreed to be my agent and attorney. How lucky can I get?!