‘To Serve Man’

Published 8:00 am Saturday, March 24, 2018

“Respectfully submitted for your perusal – a Kanamit.

Height: a little over 9 feet. Weight: in the neighborhood of 350 pounds. Origin: unknown.

Motives? Therein hangs the tale, for in just a moment, we’re going to ask you to shake hands, figuratively, with a Christopher Columbus from another galaxy and another time. This is the Twilight Zone.”

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That was the opening narration from “To Serve Man,” episode 89 of the anthology series “The Twilight Zone” with Rod Serling, originally aired on March 2, 1962, on CBS. One of my favorites.

With the recent events surrounding people’s (Earthlings,) trust in Facebook’s mishandling and exploitation of personal profiles/information, it brings to mind the fictional story about an alien race coming to Earth with the promise of aiding humanity. With their advanced technology, hunger would be ended, energy shortages would be avoided and wars would be a thing of the past.

Humans were lining up in droves to visit the alien’s paradise planet. Also in the line was Michael Chambers, the U.S. government cryptographer, hired to translate the book “To Serve Man,” left with them by the alien spokesman, written in their native language (Kanamit).

Just as he’s boarding the spaceship, his assistant on the code-breaking staff, Patty, who has just deciphered the language in the book, cries out, “Mr. Chambers, don’t get on that ship! The rest of the book ‘To Serve Man,’ it’s… it’s a cookbook!”

Those of you who have seen this episode will remember that Mr. Chambers does get on the ship, held prisoner, unwilling to eat anything in order to fatten himself up for his hosts. Chambers’ closing statement to the audience is: “How about you? You still on Earth, or on the ship with me? Really doesn’t make very much difference, because sooner or later, all of us will be on the menu… all of us.” The episode closes as Chambers gives in and breaks his hunger strike.

How about you? Are you one of Zuckerberg’s sucker?

Barbara L. Ricci, Columbus