An Aliens's Report
on a Visit to Cleveland
I am an alien. There are many of us here. We were sent to various cities, states, nations and planets to observe the ways that other life forms function.
I was sent to Cleveland, Ohio, USA on the planet Earth to hover over and observe for one Earth year. They tell me many people in other states live similarly. But I found Cleveland with its lake and river and it's many seasons, teams, sports, museums and diverse people to be unique.
Even though you did not know I was here I wish to thank you for a very interesting and enjoyable visit.
It all began at midnight on January first. People were singing and toasting. The next day
they were feverishly taking down decorations and trees. Many were ill (I later found out they called them hangovers). No matter how sick they were lots of them thought they had to eat pork and sauerkraut. Some ate 9 grapes so the year would be lucky.
Everyone was writing down promises and things they were going to change; no candy, no smoking, no alcohol and take better care of health came up the most often. Everyone seemed very stern and resolute.
This will be a boring year I thought.
Toward the end of the month it seemed many had forgotten the resolutions. They started buying candy, mostly in red boxes they called heart shaped. They were not at all like the human hearts we had studied.
On February 2nd they were very interested in what a little animal would do. It was supposed to predict the length of the winter.
Red was definitely the color in February. They gave out candy, red flowers and even the children were handing out notes with red hearts to everyone telling them they loved them. What a sentimental species.
By the end of February the sternness started up again, but not before a Tuesday when everyone ate donuts and some got hangovers again.
Then came the middle of March. They all wore green. They were singing, dancing and parading. They were drinking again and eating everything. I'd like to warn them that those hangovers would be back.
March 18th came and away with the green. Everyone is thinking spring. Some are dieting to prepare for the clothes they want to wear this coming summer. They seem most concerned about what they will wear when they get close to their great bodies of water.
Again with the candy! This time they are putting it in baskets. Pastels seem to be their fancy now. They are even coloring chicken eggs. They are very in tune to rabbits at this time - both real and stuffed. They have the idea that there is a special rabbit that delivers this candy. Then all of the sudden it dawns on them that this summer thing is coming close and the clothes don't fit. No more candy! Or so they say.
They are now planting gardens like mad; these Clevelanders must love tomatoes - that is the most popular food they plant.
In the summer months starting on May 31st they turn to the colors of their country; red, white and blue. They fly flags, they sing patriotic songs, they set off fireworks. But most interesting and strange they start to regress.
They have all this lovely equipment indoors but they are building fires and burning the meat in their yards, by the water in parks anyplace they can they build a fire and cook outdoors. They even eat out there.
Their homes are made cooler with fans and air conditioners just like they are heated in the winter with furnaces but there seems no pleasing them. Every weekend some group
has a carnival and they eat and drink like they've never seen the list.
They throw balls and hit it with a stick and the Nintendo inside sits unused. They have
wonderful fish markets but they go out and fish for their own food. They are indeed regressing!
They have a strange relationship with animals. Some that they call cats and dogs are treated with great respect. People follow the dogs around cleaning up after their mess and the cats have special boxes inside so they never have to go out. On the other hand they kill and eat their cows, pigs and chickens.
All summer long they parade around in skimpy clothes and they tend their gardens. The roses they stand around and admire but the tomatoes they eat.
They close the schools; the children do not need to learn anything for 3 months. They travel; they change time so they can stay outside later (yes they actually change the clocks and think nothing of it)!
They are a funny bunch these Clevelanders. They are eating less candy but the alcohol is
Come September they put the children back in school, they make the list again, no candy, less alcohol and better health.
They get all excited about the games, especially what they call football (although they do nothing with their feet.) They now like brown and orange and wear it to all the games. Some of them dress like dogs and they paint their faces and wear masks. They even bark, honest they do!
You haven't seen anything like these Clevelanders. They hoot and holler. How the team does determines how their week will go, good or bad. I really like it when they win. They slap each other's hands and hug.
Toward the end of October they have a strange holiday. They dress scary and they party.
Yes I'm sorry to say they drink, even the children drink cider, and eat lots of candy. They make the children stick their head in a vat of water and dive for an apple. Normally these people are very kind to their children. They in turn however get even. They dress in scary clothes go up to the door and demand, yes candy, or they will throw chicken eggs at their house.
This month called November is a busy one. Everyone goes to a designated place to vote
on who they want to be in charge for the next year. Some people get angry with
their friends because they disagree on a leader. But the day after the election everyone goes back to their own business.
November also brings on the cold weather and snow. They complain a lot (I think they like to). The snow is an icy white liquid and everyone reacts differently to it. Some people hate it and push if off their yards. Others roll it in balls and throw them at other people. Some, mostly the children, roll it into large balls and put three of them on top of one another. They make a face using one of their orange vegetables for a nose. For some reason they put a hat on it (to keep it warm?) and call it a snowman. I'd hate to tell them but it looks nothing like a Cleveland man. If the temperature rises he melts.
The cold weather brings on ice as well as snow. Again they react differently. Some put salt on it to melt it, some slide around on it even going to hills and slide down. They seem to enjoy it more than the ones pouring salt, and when they fall they laugh. The salt pourers do not.
This month is dedicated to the turkey. School children draw pictures of them and
stick them on the referigator door. I wondered if they were going to treat them as good as the dog and cat but no, it was a trick. After all this honoring of the bird they plan a holiday feast (something to do with the founding of the country) The turkey is killed and eaten at this extravagant feast. Stores offer dead ones if you spend enough money. Whatever happened that made them turn on the turkey in mid month I can't figure out. They say their leader in Washington sets one free on Thanksgiving Day, big deal.
Clevelanders stuff themselves on this day not only with candy but with anything they can put in their mouths. I could hardly believe my eyes. It was like they never made the list!
They even put the alcohol in their milk with the chicken eggs.
Then the day after the feast they run to the stores and start buying gifts for everyone they know. The stores are a mad house. People are very harried. They push and they shove. The stores are playing holiday music. Everything is in chaos.
They buy gifts, they wrap them beautifully, they send messages to everyone wishing them a happy holiday and good luck next year.
They draw designs on their cookies, they switch moods many times a day. They are happy and sing holiday songs
These Clevelanders make plates of cookies but get mad if someone eats one before the given time.
They rush and rush and rush. But they also find time to party. People who hardly spoke
all year are partying and giving gifts. Everyone is so busy. And then to top it off, (you're not going to believe this,) they bring a tree into their homes (yes a tree) and dress it up much nicer than the snowman. They even light it up. They also light up the outside of their homes and work places with colored lights. They will stick a light or ornament anywhere they can.
Some of these Clevelanders celebrate this month differently. Some light a candle and the children get a present each night for a period of days. Some go to church on Christmas Eve and then Santa Claus puts presents under this tree. Santa Claus, well, he's a fat man (probably never even made a list) with a white beard and he dresses in red. He is very nice and some call him the Jolly Old Man.
Stockings (yes foot covering - and the bigger the better) are hung for Santa and hopefully he will stuff them with gifts. Some Clevelanders even hang a stocking up for their pet (not that they wear them).
Everyone is happy singing, and (again) drinking and eating for the whole week. That is unless they are the dissatisfied ones who got the wrong size or present. They get in long lines at the store and return them.
The last day of the year and my last day here people are partying and planning that next year will be better. (I thought they enjoyed this last year with all that alcohol and candy).
They toast one another and forgive past offenses. At midnight they sing a song of good-bye to the old year. It made me weep. How sweet of them.
I loved Cleveland. I loved the seasons and I loved the sports, the parties, and the kindness they show one another. Clevelanders love their families, their churches, and their animals.
I love the people. They are all so different in color, speech, ideas, and interests and yet they are all so much alike. They complain about the weather but I think they secretly love it. They love their teams and still they yell at them. They say it's the best location in the nation. I agree! I know wherever I am sent I will recognize a Clevelander.
We are not supposed to take anything material back with us but I have a Cleveland button that I shall wear proudly on my next assignment. They say people everywhere who have to leave Cleveland still wear their buttons and cheer for Cleveland. I can see why.
If you ever get the chance to be assigned to Cleveland take it, you will not regret your time. It is indeed the best location.