In Tom Toro’s cartoon, two flying saucers are trying to abduct the same person, who is caught in the competing tractor beams. An alien in one UFO is saying something to the alien in the rival UFO.
The abductee looks like a wishbone about to be pulled apart, so my first and most obvious thought was, “Make a wish.”
I then had the aliens behave like high school students arguing over a cute classmate: “You want to conduct invasive experiments on him only because we want to conduct invasive experiments on him.”
Now let’s see how you did.
My initial idea—“Make a wish”—was not very original. Close to a hundred entrants submitted the same caption.
Here are some clever variations on the idea of splitting the abductee in two:
- “That’s fine. We only need the top half for questioning.
- “40/60 and that’s as low as we’re willing to go.”
- “I’ll cut; you choose.”
- “Head or tail?”
- “We called heads.”
There were a lot of anal probe jokes, but these were the best:
- “Not so fast, guys. We wanted to probe that end.”
- “But we need that part for the probe.”
Many of you cast the aliens as parents in a custody dispute:
- “I thought we agreed you’d have him weekends, the summer and holidays.”
- “I have custody of him this weekend.”
- “We need to discuss the visitation schedule again.”
- “Let’s give him the choice.”
Number 4 is good, but I think it would read better as, “Let’s let him decide.” And number 3 could do without the last word because the punch line is really “visitation schedule,” not “again.”
The next three entries make the dispute over the abductee sound like a romantic rivalry:
- “Why are we always fighting over a man?”
- “Let’s not fight over a man.”
- “I saw him first.”
In the late ‘70s there were a lot of headlines about cattle mutilations—the killing of cattle under unusual and bloodless circumstances—and some people speculated that extraterrestrials were to blame. Such speculation inspired the great Alan Rudolph to co-author and direct the underrated 1982 thriller, “Endangered Species.” It also inspired this entry: “You can have him. I really wanted the cow.”
In this caption, the alien who’s speaking is a child irritated by his controlling mother: “Mom stop! I can do this!”
I assumed the aliens were rivals, but two of you assumed they were collaborating:
- “Three swings, then throw.”
- “And this is one of the lighter ones.”
Again, you surprised me in the best possible way. I struggled to think of just two captions, but you all came up with several entries that approached the cartoon from several interesting perspectives. My favorite is, “Let’s not fight over a man.” Not only does it give a tired old cliché new meaning in the context of the drawing; it fits the cartoon well by highlighting the difference between extraterrestrials and humans. It also made me laugh.
Happy New Year to you all.