As I was circuiting the block on my morning constitutional, a meteorite came screeching from the heavens no further than five inches from my face. The object impacted the Earth fully one hundred yards away in front of me, leaving a fairly sizeable crater and tearing a new pothole in the road. Forgiving my frustration at having to deal with yet another obstruction on a public thoroughfare, I heeded my inquisitive instincts and proceeded cautiously towards the fallen sky debris.
When I got to within a few yards of this steaming pile of space rock, I noticed there was a foul stench of something that could only be described as cow dung set on fire. It was most unpleasant, even more unpleasant than that time I stepped up to my knee in cow manure on a dairy farm. Suffice it to say everything in my mind told me that I should perhaps keep a safe and breathable distance from this cosmic detritus, and for once I was inclined to agree with myself.
But then the strangest thing happened. The smoldering rock, glowing a dim red from entry into our atmosphere at well above the posted speed limit, spoke to me. Not only did it speak to me, it spoke in perfect English. Naturally, proper grammar is the first hallmark of honesty, so I decided to listen to what it had to say.
This piece of interstellar flotsam that reeked of cow patty aflame proceeded to give me a quick synopsis of what it was and where it was from. In Perfect American English (not to be confused with the imperfect form spoken by the Queen’s lot), this wondrous thing explained to me that it was sent to Earth by a people called the Wizzits from the planet Whizbang. Its purpose was to let the Wizzits’ galactic neighbors know of their presence in the Universe, and to inform their galactic neighbors of how fruitless an effort it would be to try to achieve cultural parity with an amazingly awesome species like the Wizzits.
Naturally I was skeptical at this story, and I informed the stinky hunk of glowing rock in its smoky crater of that skepticism. What makes the Wizzits amazingly awesome? Why can’t they show up in person? Why shouldn’t I just conclude they are simply a rude society? Where did they learn English? And, most importantly, what was that smell?
To its credit, the alien interlocutor apologized for my inferior human language’s ineptitude at conveying Wizzit thoughts accurately. Since politeness is the second hallmark of honesty, I decided that all was forgiven. From there, the rock informed me that it would try as best it could to use this silly language to tell me all about the Wizzit culture. I would need to write it all down on some sort of tablet, booklet of parchment, or personal computing device. My thoughts still somewhat skeptical at hearing this talking piece of cosmic issue speak to me, I astutely asked why it couldn’t just have brought its own writing device or data storage device.
Somehow it was prepared for this objection, and it noted that its diminutive size had no place to house a keyboard. In retrospect, I should have known something the size of a Magic 8-Ball couldn’t fit a keyboard in it. How silly of me.
I raised one more objection to this intelligent sack of…whatever it was. Its story was quite fantastical, and I was hardly enthusiastic about trying to get other reasonable human beings to believe such a whimsical tale. Flying rocks that talk? No thank you. Proof of alien life? Preposterous. A civilization more advanced than we are? Out of this world.
As it had before, the heavenly flotsam responded quickly and without error. The sheer audacity of me relating the story would, in and of itself, be proof of its authenticity. After all, humans were a gullible lot, and they’ve believed far more on far less information. In fact, it reminded me, the less specific details I give the better. “Just make bold claims and then blame ignorance on everyone but you, and I would be fine,” it said.
With such words of unmitigated sincerity assaulting my ears how could I do anything but pick up that smelly pile of Wizzit wonderment and take it back to begin writing about its wonderful culture?
And that’s why I’m sharing this foreword with everyone today. It’s the beginning of the Best Book Ever Written, and according to the artifact (which I shall name Gus), all of the best works in the English language contain forewords. Now that everyone knows the provenance and background to the source of this wondrous story, I hope we all can recognize how inconsequential we are to the Wizzits from Whizbang. Oh, and eventually you will get used to the smell of steaming bull excrement.
And if someone you know doesn’t recognize the Wizzits’ greatness, don’t worry. It’s his or her fault for being small-minded and insecure in their own inadequacies. At least, that’s what Gus says I should tell myself.