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3 minute read
Calvin Trillin

IT WAS A RELIEF TO SEE NEWT GINGRICH’S NAME IN THE PAPER the other day. I was beginning to think that he might have been abducted by one of those extraterrestrials he has speculated about.

It was surprising that no one else seemed concerned about the possibility of an abduction. A couple of months ago, Democratic Congressmen were looking forward to running against Newt, linking their opponents to someone whose negative ratings were creeping toward the area once occupied exclusively by Saddam Hussein. How can you run against someone who’s off in a spaceship having his bodily fluids removed and his orifices probed?

I know that’s what happens on spaceships because several abductees were on Nova last week. Even before I heard their stories, extraterrestrial abduction was the most logical explanation I could think of for Gingrich’s sudden absence. If he was on earth, I figured, we’d see him quoted about something; until his disappearance, Gingrich was the first Speaker of the House who seemed to take the title literally.

Newt’s interest in subjects like futurism and life on other planets is thought to be his most endearing quality by people who think he has endearing qualities. But believing in the possibility of extraterrestrials can make you a target for abduction, in the way ordering by mail puts you on a lot of mailing lists.

If an alien from another planet had the task of choosing an earthling to take into its spaceship–let’s say it wanted to find out whether a particular bodily fluid might be effective on the other planet in cleaning windshields without leaving streaks–it would obviously look for someone open to believing in its existence, rather than someone who dismissed extraterrestrial visitors as the figment of someone else’s imagination.

Otherwise, when the alien said, “Come with us into our spaceship,” the earthling might just say, “Buzz off, figment,” and go on about his business, leaving the extraterrestrial just standing there, truly embarrassed.

Think of what would happen, for instance, if an alien from another planet approached Pat Buchanan with abduction in mind. After all, Pat Buchanan believes that all aliens are from another planet.

“So, my friends,” Buchanan concludes at his press conference, “I told this little guy, ‘Go back where you came from.'”

Reporters shout out questions: “How do you know the alien’s name was Epstein, Pat? Did he talk? Do all extraterrestrials have Jewish names?”

It just wouldn’t make sense for an extraterrestrial to go after Buchanan–unless Steve Forbes is an extraterrestrial, which would explain why he can’t click off that otherworldly grin.

On the other hand, Newt Gingrich, a confessed Trekkie who looks as if he has bodily fluids to spare, is a perfect target for abduction. Once the Speaker disappeared, I passed the word to people I know who believe in alien visitors: “If you run into any extraterrestrials, ask them if they’re holding a sort of pudgy white-haired guy who can’t keep his mouth shut.”

It occurs to me that they might have been. After all, the abductees I saw on Nova are back, and there’s no way to tell by looking at them that they’d ever been drained and probed and messed about with. Maybe Newt really has been on a spaceship. If so, I think we’re going to hear about it.

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