February 27, 2024 | Rome, Italy

Keeping it real

By |2023-12-20T04:51:43+01:00December 20th, 2023|Rye Wyt|
Land of the loonies.

alifornia is an Officially Weird Weird state. I sometimes get the feeling it was colonized by disciplinarian aliens who tried out their methods in Mexico before giving up on learning Spanish and moving to L.A. They couldn’t get the Mexicans to give up on organized chaos and eventually settled a bit farther north, where wannabe actors and tekkies hug all things healthy, including trees, smoothies, and therapists. I’m guessing the colonization went down in the 1960s, an officially weird decade, but got into full swing when the Terminator (an Austrian bodybuilder from Neptune by way of Hollywood) got himself elected governor.

Nowadays the alien occupation goes by the name liberalism or diversity or tolerance, all of which the occupiers swear by since Neptune is ruled by a multigendered monarch who swears by fitness and ammonia gas–powered limos. Oh, and you can’t smoke on Neptune. Penalties include (but are not limited to) life imprisonment on a barren moon.

I mention this to stand up for my work colleague Jeremy, who is less than a nanosecond away from being exiled from West L.A. to Cha-Cha-Loco, the worst of the prison moons. There, you’re condemned to wear flip-flops and hang out for a century or two at the cafeteria of the local prison, known as Starbucks. Wardens brainwash those members of the human population who resist the alien version of English. By the time you’re released and sent home, you swear by the words totally, awesome, and very cool. You also know to drive an electric car and recognize Elon Musk as your lord and savior.

Jeremy is on the brink of punitive action for two reasons.

Despite all alien legislation to the contrary, he drives a vintage Corvette high on nocturnal emissions, as in dirty tailpipe emissions. Insult to injury, he smokes in public, spewing second-hand smoke at all those who tell him he’s endangering the public good. He already had to pay a bunch of alien-mandated fines on the Corvette and now gets his cigarettes from Bolivia, not yet colonized but high on the alien to-do list.

Neptune is ruled by a multigendered monarch who swears by fitness and ammonia gaspowered limos.

I feel for Jeremy. That may be because I associate with resistance movement types and once owned a used 8-cylinder Camaro. I also once bought a pack of Marlboros and even smoked three in one day. Yeah, I was fined 13 Cal-Alien kopecks and mended my ways, but still . . . In fact, when I told Jeremy about my tiny personal act of smoothie resistance he took me for a ride in the Corvette, which I have to say (to please the censors) was very cool.

The only reason Jeremy hasn’t been suspended, jailed, and exiled is that his partner is a gender-fluid Asian-American maker of energy drinks with 7 billion YouTube followers. They even hang with alien princess Taylor Swift, which goes over very well on Neptune. For now, Jeremy is safe, or semi-safe. How else to put it when your Corvette is tagged by tracking devices and your Bolivian smokes monitored by solar-powered choppers intended to make sure your driving and smoking is limited to a 2-mile area in which there’s nothing more than an old alien industrial park manned by a Marlon Brando clone with an awesomely loud megaphone he uses to urge Jeremy to hire a life coach? Jeremy ignores all this and drives around in circles, sometimes hitting the brakes hard so that everyone in earshot knows he still refuses to get with the program. How can you not like the guy?

Last month I invited him over to my house in a gated community. It was my daughter’s birthday party. Sure enough, Jeremy showed up in his Corvette with his partner, Archetype, whom I gather arrived here from Neptune last year on an energy drink grant. Jeremy tempted Fate by lighting up in the street in front of my home, leading to an immediate intervention by the fire department and police. He was cuffed and read his rights until Archetype intervened and paid the fine.

All returned to normal, and by the end of the day Jeremy and Archetype drove off to the industrial park, just to get on Marlon’s nerves.

When you live in an Officially Weird State, stuff totally happens. Alien nation stuff. With a handful of Jeremy types trying against all odds to keep it real.

About the Author:

Joel Stein is the assumed named of a humor columnist who doubles as a senior marketing representative. He does have a not-so- assumed daughter named Rebecca.