In a recurrent nightmarish day-dream I’m the last one standing. Aliens have arrived and I’m there to greet the spaceship hoping, at least, for someone to have lunch with. After the usual small talk about our respective planets and what went wrong with mine I ask what took them so long. The pilot apologizes because they’ve been monitoring our decline and fall for many moons, alarmed at our recent planetary suicide but he says they just didn’t make the lights.
The three-eyed android who more resembles an over-sized grasshopper or an under-sized rhinoceros, remarkably, speaks a perfect English. Good thing because I only took Trash as a second language. It had been a while since I’d spoken at all and found myself fluent, at first, only in gibberish till I regained use of my tongue.
He then turns to a pile of what we used to call technology inquiring how all the gadgetry works. I dread the moment and plead total ignorance. Fearful of raising his hackles I try to explain that we earthlings used a lot of things but most of us had no idea how anything worked. His hackles did indeed rise. I worried that some form of inter-galactic enhanced interrogation was coming in which I might find myself impaled on one his hackles.
He seemed to accept my ignorance since, after all, we had convincingly demonstrated our collective stupidity by electing an infantile despot to lead our nation. The visitors regretted their delayed arrival and having to deal with such a poor specimen as me to enlighten them on our human progress. I could only assure them that there used to live among us some who could explain how the loom with its punch cards led to player pianos and eventually to programming the computer. I told him there were a few of us undaunted by hot wires or hard drives who could fiddle with links and algorithms and blue teeth and black holes. If one of those had survived they could build it all over again from a handful of dust. However I was not the guy.
All I had to offer was the paper clip, coat hanger and orange juice squeezer none of which he had ever seen before. We agreed to call it a start and besides it would take a lot more than things to get it right next time around.