Call me Richard Dreyfuss, but I can’t drive by Pilot Mountain without envisioning a giant alien spaceship hovering overhead. ‘What would happen if a massive mother-ship lowered slowly from the clouds?’ I wonder - until I usually miss my turn. One thing I know. Unlike the 70’s Spielberg classic, today’s otherworldly encounter wouldn’t be so easily suppressed by government forces. For soon after the giant craft cast its shadow over ‘The Knob‘, a glittering convoy of TV trucks would also hove into view. The cops could try and stop them. But with the vast ship visible from miles away, authorities couldn’t possibly stop the gawking. Before most locals had a chance to even look up, images of the slowly spinning saucer would ricochet across the heavens, before bouncing back to blanket the Earth in high-def chopper-cam frenzy. As mankind stopped to ponder it all, media outlets from every nation would dispatch crew after crew to sleepy-ass Surry County. As the giant ship slowly rotated in silence, a sat truck hive of apocalyptic proportions would ring the base of the famed monadnock. I bet they’d even serve refreshments!
Even still, the End Times would surely be nigh. For even if the life-forms behind the wheel of the incalculable vessel came only to peddle Amway, we in the Fourth Estate would surely trigger Armageddon. It could go down so many different ways. All those upturned satellite dishes down below could reak havoc with the spaceship’s tractor beam, causing it to suddenly crash and creating an intergalactic incident. Or the sentient beings sipping space-coffee deep within the colossal star-liner could simply stumble across our many TV signals. One trip around the cable news dial might render them agog - the shrill hype and dizzying graphics enough to convince any advance race to zap this wretched rock for the good of the cosmos. Or perhaps they wouldn’t have to watch any local tube to opt for annihilation. One sweeping glance into the sat truck encampment below would reveal enough about our society to ultimately do it in. After all, how many screaming logos, hairspray clouds and hacky-sack matches can a space traveler endure before kicking in the afterburners? Especially when there’s some guy with a ridiculous moustache pounding on the outside hatch, demanding an exclusive interview, access to the flight deck and if at all possible, a triple-lit sit-down with the the big greasy Martian that ate Al Capone.
Why, it's almost enough to make a cameraman stop carving cliff faces out of his mashed potatoes. Almost.