Hedy Taas

What planet am I from?

No, really, I’m serious. For the last [???] years of my existence on earth, I’ve been seriously nagged by this question. What kind of an alien am I?

Once in a while, we come across stories that intrigue or even "touch" us. And "K-Pax" (recently shown in this planet’s theaters), the story of an "alien" - at least as what the character declares he is - who supposedly visited the earth, lived here for several earth-years and "touched" people’s lives before he was supposed to return to his planet K-Pax, made me once again reflect on the nagging question of my life.

Humans insist that there are no other life forms in the universen - at least nothing that science has discovered yet - so the story’s lead character was believed to be not the "alien" that he claimed to be, but just someone trying to repress bitter human experiences he has gone through by imagining a world that is so unlike the world as we know it. And K-Pax, unlike the earth, is a world where being different or odd is not bad. K-Pax, unlike the earth, is a world where everyone belongs. K-Pax, unlike the earth, is where everyone can be himself and live without fear of neither scorn nor violence against his person.

So am I, like the story’s character, an alien? For how can I otherwise explain the fact that until now I still cannot accept what others say is just a "normal" thing in this world: That people who are "different" are "naturally" outcasts. Like the condescending way we treat those who are handicapped in one way or another? The sarcasm we manifest to those who choose to follow rules/regulations? The contempt we show for those who succeed the honest-to-goodness way? The distrust we harbor in our hearts for those who always volunteer to help? The disgust we feel for the seemingly too kind-hearted? The blame we put on those who’d rather get hurt than fight back and hurt others, too? I may be an alien for not understanding this planet. I may be an alien for not understanding why people refuse to accept that some may be "different" but need not be "alienated"; Why people refuse to accept that there is no joy comparable to the joy of knowing that others have become better persons as we "etouch"e their lives. Yet I know, I feel and I am certain that tomorrow, in this very planet, kind words and good deeds shall always be the rule rather than the exception. And who’s to blame me if I believe someone who once declared "you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…" So what planet am I really from? K-Pax, perhaps? But alien or no alien, I am sure of one important thing: That we are all given just one life to live, one chance to make a difference. Shouldn’t we make that difference something good and worth remembering? In the meantime, I will patiently await my final return to K-Pax. And while on this earth, I might as well be determined to spend each day living by these sacred words:

"I shall pass this way but once. Therefore any good that I can do or any kindness I can show Let me do it NOW; For I shall not pass this way again…"