|My mental image of "Book Launching"|
Back in June of this year one of my neighbors, Rich Cohen, released his latest book The Last Pirate of New York. He announced on social media and personal email that he was "launching" his new book. That brought a couple images to mind. One was of a book, duct taped to the top of a rocket, hurling into space at 18,000 miles per hour. The other was something like the video below, but with a book.
Rich is a good guy and is good friends with some of my good friends. So when he announced he would be hosting a book launching event, I thought it would be nice to go out and help the neighbor down the street celebrate a major accomplishment. I also had some selfish reasons - being a would-be writer myself, I wanted to pick his brain on a few things.
I marked my calendar for June 6th at 7:00pm. Unfortunately, I could not make the book reading part of the event because it conflicted with one of my kids' school concerts. I was disappointed because the first five attendees to Rich's event were promised, "a free Mr. Microphone, which you can use to impress your friends!"
|Impress your friends!|
It only took a few inches of drop to get several feet of air if you went really fast and then picked up your front wheel as you went over. Sometimes you would land on the back wheel and see how long you could do a wheelie. Sometimes you crashed, got right up, and did it again. We would do this for hours.
This one time, my next-door neighbor Jared and I had a little too much idle time on our hands and we "went to town" on a mega ramp. We built this sucker up to a height of about four feet. We were barely four feet tall ourselves so I do not know what we were thinking. But it was a fun challenge to build and we had a good time doing it. And then? Well, if you build it they will jump. Someone had to go off it. But who would accept such a daring challenge? I wonder who?
|My jump, in my mind|
I probably did not think any of that, at the time. I just thought it would be fun to jump the ramp. Maybe people would think I was cool, but that was subordinate to the thrill of flight. I envisioned myself flying through the air, several feet off the ground and then locking the brakes and skidding to a stop in a cloud of dust. That would be cool.
So I rode my Huffy BMX bike with the overstuffed next-generation banana seat, to the end of the long driveway, turned around, and stood astride my ride, looking ahead at my challenge. I studied the vert and the drop, like The Terminator assessing a threat. I looked at the spectators standing a little too close to the ramp. I shouted, "Back up, everybody!" They did - like all kids when you tell them to get out of the way, they stepped back about two inches.
|My jump, closer to real life|
My body was scraped, bruised, and banged up. Tinned voices echoed in my inner ear. Blood was everywhere. As I stood up, before picking the asphalt out of my wounds or looking my bike over for damage, two thoughts came to mind:
1. I should have picked up the front wheel
2. That was "totally awesome" (it was the 1980's)
How much fun was that! I would never again attempt any jump so colossally stupid. How many times did Evel Knievel jump the Grand Canyon? Well, zero but he did try to jump the Snake Canyon once. Just once. Both images above are from that near fatal stunt.
When Rich promised, "a free Mr. Microphone, which you can use to impress your friends," I was all over that like cheese on a hamburger. But mis hijos son mi vida. The concert would take precedence. I told Rich I would try to make it for part of the reading but would definitely be there for the after party. With kids a few years ahead of mine, he said, "Great! I know all about those concerts."
My wife and I drove separately to the concert. She took the kids in the Subaru and I took the bike because when you ride a motorcycle you do it as much as you can, when you can. It was June, it was warm, it was not raining (for a change) and I wanted to ride. Also, anytime there is something going on at the school, there is nowhere to park and it is a pain getting out of there. Bike = Solution.
|MacGyver, MacGyvering something|
Towards the end, I had a conversation with Rich about my own aspirations. I wanted to pick his brain on how I could get my Close Encounter story out to the public. I do not want to "impress my friends" à la Evel Knievel / Mr. Microphone. I just want the world to know, to understand, to believe, we are being visited and to appreciate that we need to prepare for the inevitable Contact which will occur, geologically soon.
The hope was that Rich would point me towards a publisher, agent, production company, anyone who might be interested in my story. Maybe even he himself would want to write about it. Or better yet, Rich knows this article on UFOs needs to be written but he does not have the time for it himself and he does not know anyone else with expertise on the subject. Hey Dave, you know something about UFOs. Can you take care of this for me? Sure, dude. You came to the right person!
That was how I imagined it. But like my jump over the 4-Footer, the conversation did not go the way I had envisioned. Rich's only advice was to write about the experience.
Later on, though, he did write about my experience, himself. Rich put some thought into our conversation, over the summer. Maybe it was because he was away from town, on vacation, without the normal distractions of everyday life, which provided him pause for contemplation. Maybe it was being trapped in a cottage in Maine filled with kids and none of his regular grown-up pals to chit-chat with. Whatever it was, Rich was inspired to write an article titled, "More UFOs Than Ever Before" for The Paris Review.
Rich Cohen Conspiracy
My first thought was, huh, where did you get that idea? Then I read the article. It was well-written and entertaining. It reminded me of a three-part series I wrote last fall titled, Why are we being visited now. I then noticed that he wrote another article prior to that, in July, which was reminiscent of my article, Apollo Wha??? Imitation, it seems, is the greatest form of flattery. Thanks Rich. I am humbled and honored.
|Me, trying to look|
in a writing duel
no one cares about
Like, with the infinite number of stars in the Universe, not one of them could possibly have any planets inhabited by people who evolved before us and figured out Physics. Set your Captain Picard face-plant memes to 'Stun'.
My public response on Rich's Facebook post about the article was, "Your neighbor sounds pretty cool." But privately I was thinking his neighbor sounds like a crazy person. You would have to be crazy to believe your own eyes when an enormous spaceship is about a hundred yards from you, right?
Rich is calling his series "Conspiracy," where he "gets to the bottom of it all." It is his attempt to put his own spin on this hot new UFO Craze - a Point-Counterpoint where people like me write articles demonstrating the shortsightedness of non-believers and Rich replies with a complementary article about why realists are loony-tunes. OK. Game on, neighbor.
So here I am, back at the keyboard with a new purpose. I suppose I owe Rich a beer for the inspiration to write about UFOs again. I will buy the second round, my friend.
If you have seen an alien spaceship or any type of unidentified flying object (UFO) or unexplained aerial phenomenon (UAP) contact me using the Contact form on this page or call me at 401-315-9102 between 6:00am and 7:00am Eastern USA (New York) time, any weekday.
You may remain anonymous if you want. I will not ridicule you or try to tell you why you are wrong. I get it, I saw one too.
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Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.
* I thought for sure that Montgomery Ward went out of business like 30 years ago. I can't believe I found a link to them.