Once upon a time, there was a young Canadian boy name Richard, living in a small Prairie town, who played a major role in world events. Up until the age of 18, he did very little to distinguish himself or to set himself apart from the rest of the population. In fact, he’d shown such a lack of initiative, that many of the local residents, who were his friends and neighbours, thought of him as a “do nothing.”
But on one fateful summer day in 1943, everything changed for our young hero. That was the day he saved the planet.
While the rest of the world was pre-occupied with the war in Europe and in the Pacific, Richard was out for a walk down a country lane, when he spotted a crop circle in a wheat field. He stayed to check it out and was still there when a giant alien space ship came out of the big sky and set down gingerly amidst the amber waves.
The two little grey creatures who exited the strange craft made it clear, through the use of their universal language translators, they wanted Richard to put them in contact with his leader. Richard, all excited, said he would go and get the mayor.
For the first time in his life, Richard was galvanized into action. He raced into town and ran breathlessly into the Mayor’s office. The somewhat sceptical mayor said he would go with Richard in about an hour, after he finished some important official business.
Richard was now a little calmer and thinking more clearly. He decided to take the opportunity to go home and get his camera, in order to record this momentous event.
As Richard left his house on the way back out, he noticed a lovely clump of Alberta Rose by the front door stoop. He thought he’d take some pictures.
He soon got distracted by nature in its full glory, as far as the eye could see. In the end, he forgot all about the mayor and all about the aliens. In other words, he did nothing.
The mayor, assuming it was a hoax anyway, quickly forgot about the whole matter. The aliens, after waiting several hours, got fed up and took off in search of other more aggressive life forms on other worlds. They were scouting out potential allies or enemies in their war of intergalactic domination.
Later on, as the years went by and as he progressed through all the stages of life, from young adulthood, through middle age and on into his senior years, before finally expiring in 1988, Richard continued to serve his country, and the whole world, by doing nothing.
That young man’s full name was Richard Steven Quatermeyer and he was a distant relative of my wife. That’s how we have come to know the story and why we’ve taken up his cause.
I would propose that a national day of honour be set aside each year in his memory. The day would bear his name and while that might be a bit of a mouthful, it could easily be shortened.
At least several times a year, my family is already celebrating Dick S. Quat day – by doing nothing – and we could not be more proud of our heritage.
If the foregoing has made you at all anxious, you’ll want to read the cautionary words in Spotting the Space Aliens Among Us.