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The Independent Culture
USES FOR an extraterrestrial? Mike Gifford warns against even trying to put one to work: "An ET is usually unemployable as it spends too much time mooning around with stars in its eyes gazing into space, followed by being given a rocket and fired." He suspects, however, that this may be caused by our cannibalistic desires to eat things with names such as Milky Way and Mars. Several readers pointed out that we already have too many extra terrestrials on earth anyway.

Nicholas E Gough sees evidence that they have been abducting 51-year- olds - the "LI" in "alien" leads him inexorably to that conclusion. Alex Harley sees one as the perfect dinner-party guest, "assuming they eat space food". She says they'll provide plenty to talk about and little or no washing-up.

Nigel Plevin sees an ET as very useful in any game of charades when you need to mime the word "alienation". Just maroon it on an uninhabited island and you've done it. He reminds us that the only correct enquiry to make of an ET is: "What on earth are you doing here?" but says this should be promptly followed up with a bill for crop circle damage.

Judith Holmes writes: "Any ET would be handy around the home, tidying up the detritus of cold cups of tea, old newspapers and dirty clothes that no human admits to having left around," but she wonders what psychedelic drug you would need to give an alien for it to become spaced out. "Give it a 'phone" RJ Pickles advises.

Bruce Birchall recommends taking it down the pub, getting it blind drunk and putting David Bowie's "Ground Control, to Major Tom" on the karaoke for a singalong. If that doesn't help, he suggests: "Confuse it by saying there is a message to phone home. Since it has probably fled in search of refuge from the calamity that wiped out its home civilisation, this will cause it to wonder how a message, obviously emanating from the past, got here first, and to reconsider the Theory of Special Relativity. While it is thus distracted, clap it in irons and take it down the nick, to be charged with speeding in a built-up area."

The almost-extraterrestrial-herself Sian Cole shows commendable lack of racism, speciesism and, indeed, all other isms except sexism in her plans for ET. Paul Turner thinks its credentials would be perfect to write his next Creativity entry for him.

Magy Higgs suggests spelling him E-Tee and using him on a golf course in space. "Mate the extraterrestrial with an extraterritorial," Jan Moor recommends. "Their offspring will know no bounds". JE Shackleton offers advice to any potential ET thinking of travelling here: "Don't risk it. Find another planet anywhere else in the universe. Give us a miss. We are not nice to know. In one way or another we'll screw you.

That ties in well not only with the beloved Sian's plans, but also with Patrick Daunt's idea of screwing it to the top of the television set to ensure reception of additional non-satellite programmes. He also mentions that artesian wells and coleslaw provide all you need to make Sian Cole. Except the circumflex, I suppose.

Chambers Dictionary prizes to Bruce Birchall, Paul Turner and Mike Gifford and Patrick Daunt. Next week, we shall be discussing what to do with the sock that went missing several years ago but has now turned up again. We shall also tell you all then about the plans for Creativity's long-overdue summer holiday.