In the Rim country, we're kind of the polar opposite of India.
Take cows, for example. Over there, they consider cows sacred and let them wander through towns and amongst the people.
Over here in the home of the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo, we consider cows a source of sport and quite tasty.
If one happened to wander down the street in Payson, it'd probably be lassoed, hog-tied and dragged off to Fargo's before it knew what happened. Assuming, of course, that cows are even capable of knowing what happened.
And then there's water. Right now, they've got plenty of it over there as in massive flooding. Over here, we're in the midst of a drought so severe even Salt River Project is starting to be careful with the water it takes from us to sell in the Valley.
But all of us who walk this planet, we are told, are brothers, and so it is time to focus on the things we have in common with the people of India. (I would call them Indians, but that would just add to the confusion that Christopher Columbus started when he thought he had landed there when he was really here.)
Anyway, a recent Associated Press story tells of a series of "mysterious flying objects" that come in the night and attack villagers in India's Uttar Pradesh state.
So far, seven people have died of unexplained injuries caused by what one woman, Kalawati (who uses only one name), described as a big soccer ball with sparkling lights. She and others who have survived, suffered scratches, burns and "surface wounds." That sounds bad enough, until you consider that the people who died had their stomachs ripped completely open.
Here, we haven't lost any lives to UFOs at least any we can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt but we have had some pretty close calls. "Fire in the Sky," you will recall, tells the true story of the abduction of one Travis Walton, a resident of Snowflake, by aliens. For better or worse, the aliens decided to return Travis fairly intact.
There have also been numerous UFO sightings right here in the Payson area some credible and some incredible.
So you might say that in the Rim country, as in India, the subject of UFOs is not entirely "alien."
But here's where things start to get interesting. According to the Associated Press, not everybody in India believes that aliens in soccer ball UFOs are responsible for the attacks and deaths.
Some doctors "dismiss the story as mass hysteria." One even goes so far as to suggest that the burns, scratches and "surface wounds" are self-inflicted.
The police have yet another theory. They believe the wounds are caused by giant bugs.
"It is a 3 1/2-inch-long winged insect (that leaves rashes and superficial wounds)," a superintendent of police said.
The question we must ask, of course, is whether we, too, could be mistaking attacks by giant bugs for authentic UFO encounters. As food for thought, I present the fact that it has certainly been a bad fly season especially for horse owners.
And a friend of mine recently said she saw a moth so big she honestly mistook it for a bat. She swears she hadn't had a thing to drink or been watching old Mothra movies.
Of course the people of India prefer the UFO version of events, and accuse the police of covering their inability to capture the aliens by blaming it all on giant bugs. In the village of Shanwa, villagers have formed patrol squads that go around beating drums and shouting, "Everyone alert. Attackers beware."
It finally reached the point where a person was killed in the nearby village of Sitapur when police fired into a crowd of 10,000 that had gathered to demand the capture of the soccer ball aliens.
Given this kind of an outcome, I think it behooves us take note of the experiences of the people of India so that we might learn from their encounters.
While most people I've talked to prefer the UFO theory, I tend toward the giant bugs and here's why. If Kalawati a woman who goes by one name is the source for the soccer ball UFO version of the events transpiring in India, then we should be most skeptical.
How believable would a similar story be as told by say Cher, another person who goes by one name. Or Yanni.
But just to be safe, I say: "Everyone alert. Attackers beware."