On March 2, 1962, CBS aired the 24th episode in the third season of the Twilight Zone: To Serve Man. First, can we take in the sheer force that was the Rod Serling era Twilight Zone? The show had five seasons, each ranging anywhere from 18 to 37 episodes. Can you imagine having 37 episodes of your favorite television show today? The BBC series Sherlock literally had three episodes in every season. Three.
Anyway, I digress. In To Serve Man, aliens from a faraway planet touchdown on Earth and offer humanitarian services to end world hunger, war, and energy shortages. The aliens share their incredibly advanced technology with every major city on Earth, ultimately bringing an end to all crises facing the planet. During an early press conference with the humans, an alien spokesman leaves behind a book written in their foreign language. A decoder eventually deciphers the title of the book as “To Serve Man.” Time goes on, the aliens put an end to war, global famine, and climate change, and convince the humans to volunteer for missions to the aliens’ home planet. Meanwhile, the same decoder, bored from having no foreign codes to crack, continues transcribing the book. Just as a group of humans is boarding a ship to leave Earth, the transcriber comes running over in a panic and screams “…don't get on that ship! The rest of the book, To Serve Man, it's... it's a cookbook!" Sorry for the spoiler but the episodes have been out for like half a century, if you haven’t seen it by now, girl I don’t know what to tell you.
The episode, as well as at least 50 others (I’ve seen the entire series a million times and have a crush on Rod Serling’s ghost) has always stayed with me. Episodes like this, The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, and countless others serve as beautifully crafted metaphors as to what can happen when we get so unhealthily consumed with ourselves. How much will we destroy, physically and emotionally, until there’s no coming back and “sooner or later, we'll all of us be on the menu... all of us." Whoa, dark. But what can I say, it’s a dark world out there. The humans in episode 24 were so desperate for solutions, they got into bed with aliens who literally gave them the literal book describing how they’d be sous-vide and sauteed for dinner. They trusted the words of a starving being from outer space instead of asking themselves how they could fix the problems they created. But that happens when you live with blinders on, you start to miss things, like the true intentions of a 9-foot tall gray extraterrestrial who wants to be in charge, or the true intentions of the humans already in charge.
Consider, if you will, the optimism many had on Jan. 20 when one man left the office and another man took over, I put it that plainly because frankly, that’s about all that happened. As long as we are run by a two-party system that works for big profit corporations, we will never see an end to racial wealth disparity, over-militarization/police violence in Black and brown communities, or internalized and externalized white supremacy. And I know this to be about as certain as I know a visit from an alien life form likely won’t be benevolent.
If you’re here from my Instagram, hi friend! Welcome back to us! The whole point of my presence on that app was to call us all to examine something (typically with racism at the center) in a way that generates meaningful conversation and actionable change so one day when we’re the ones in charge, things don’t make me want to drive off the edge of a cliff.
So what am I doing here? Well, one thing you should know about me is I love writing more than most things. And I love how my writing allows me to form relationships with people like you. And I REALLY love it when my writing allows us to examine the issues that matter most to me. So here’s your official welcome to “IT’S A COOKBOOK.” I can’t tell you what days it will publish nor can I tell you how often it will publish because that would make it a bit too predictable and when things become too mundane, the Pisces tends to grow cold in a relationship and leave it for something else. And I don’t want to leave you, I want to love you. I want my relationship with this space and the people visiting to have its own life, be everchanging, in a constant state of osmosis. I want you to get to know me so I can, in turn, get to know you and become inspired by you. And then create something that hopefully inspires you and the cycle continues.
The one thing I do know about this place is that it will never be quite what you expect and the journey you think you’ve started when you begin reading will always end up with a tremendous detour through The Twilight Zo—sorry I’ve actually just been told I can’t legally say that. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is come for the mystery stay for the challenge (and random cocktails I’m drinking at the moment, recommendations of shows I’m binging, or pop culture moments that I NEED TO DISCUSS). So I hope you’ll actively join me, in whatever form comes most natural to you. Read my posts. Tell your friends/family to subscribe. Comment on a post (or two or all). Send me an email. Shoot me a text/dm (if you know me like that). And let’s see what magic we can create together.