"Is There Life On Mars?" is the 32nd in my 2022 series of articles based on my real life experiences, professional insights, personal views and fun stories.
My hope is that in them you find joy and inspiration.
IS THERE LIFE ON MARS?
Whenever I’m asked, “Is there life on Mars?” I answer by recounting the tale of my last shopping trip to Earth …
I landed, parked my craft. I fought my way through the brawl of ‘my rights’ activists and into the shopping precinct. First stop, the bank. The sign outside read, 'Entry restricted to mask wearers.' This sounded like a robbers’ charter. With neither a mask nor a sawed-off shotgun on me, I gave the bank a miss.
At the nearby supermarket, more astonishment. A surly door-minder insisted that I display a health pass in order to gain entry. I told him, “My health is fine but I’ll pass on shopping here,” and crossed to another store.
At this retailer I successfully collected some groceries but then found that only central bank digital electronic currency payments were accepted. My admirably restrained response of, “Keep your carrots,” didn’t appear to faze the cashier. I assumed they'd heard it often. I moved on to shop number three. They served only state-approved individuals with biometric I.D.s and took payment by government printed ‘funny money’. I didn’t get the joke.
Increasingly perplexed, I turned to supermarket number four. There they proclaimed their support for some odd-ball notion called 'Net Zero’. I took this to refer to there being no internet in the store or it could have been the zero interest in customer service on display. Either way, the shelves were bare and the air cold. I felt zero inclination to hang about. So I bailed out and headed for a brightly coloured store at the end of the mall.
This one turned out to be the most bizarre of all. They insisted I don a dress and make-up before allowing entry. I said, “No thanks,” citing the excuse that, “It was not the weekend!”
Totally bewildered, I decided to head for home. But then I espied a small store on the corner. It displayed none of the glitz of the major retailers but it bore a sign proclaiming ‘Everyone Welcome’ and looked quaintly inviting. I ventured inside.
Unlike the other stores which were sparsely populated, and then only by depressingly gray dystopian zombies, this shop was buzzing. It was a veritable hive of shoppers of all creeds and backgrounds. The atmosphere was positive, upbeat and social. People were chatting and joking with one another as they bustled about their business. Oh joy, a proper shop! Remarking on the conviviality and warmth to the owners, a friendly couple of hard-working, honest folks, they confirmed to me that their store was what real, down-to-earth people wanted and it gave them pleasure in providing it.
I said, “Amen to that,” and headed back to my transport with an altogether more positive view of Earth than originally perceived. My good humour was short lived.
Stuck to the screen of my rocket-ship were a couple of penalty notices. One charging me with 'parking in a bay reserved for illegal aliens' (what)!? ; the other for ‘upsetting staff' of the earlier establishments visited - presumably by wanting to shop and protect my right to privacy. I contained the hysterical laughter welling inside me lest any bystander suspect me to be a lunatic from Mars (heaven forbid) and stuffed the notices up the back burner of my rocket, before jumping into the ship.
'Anywhere but Earth’ seemed like a good destination but I just wanted to get home. So I set course for Mars and blasted off. Hurtling homeward at warp speed maximum, I happily had no concerns with speed cops nor with polluting the atmosphere.
Once home, my wife greeted me with customary kiss, “Did you have good day?” and “How was Earth?”
I looked her in the eye, shook my head wearily and said, “Don’t even go there.”
So we never did. But that evening we did visit our local Mars’ bar for a drink. It’s a sweet spot with a heavenly ambiance. Our red planet cocktails were divine and we smooched carefree to the strains (and sight) of ‘Starry, Starry Night’.
“Is there life on Mars?” You bet there is!
I am Tom Riach. I live and write in the sunny south of Portugal.
Read about happy living - on Mars or anywhere! - in 'The Road To Joyful Living'. Claim your special copy when you Click on the image below.
'IS THERE LIFE ON MARS?' is an original copyright Tom Riach feature.
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See you there! Regards, Tom.