How a group of aliens views Earth

After much study, the elders of Gronchuaria find that while their scientists did discover something there – it was not intelligent and most certainly not life.

"Britney is so..."

"Did you see Lindsey?..."

"Celebrities are so stupid, I mean that Alec thing? Hello?"

Sometimes I imagine a small alien colony on a far away planet (as small alien colonies are almost always on far away planets) desperately searching for signs of intelligent life in the universe. Living 400 million light-years away, they use their superior intelligence to create a device that enables them to search the cosmos.

It's a sunny day on Gronchuaria when Nimdo detects something. An image appears. A tall slender blond being parks her moving metal thing and walks into a structure of some sort, where she uses her eye balls to look at things to put on her feet. These foot objects must be important, since there are at least 20 other beings surrounding her, recording every move.

Nimdo notes: Most fascinating! Truly this must be important. The slender blond being leaves and the 20 recording beings throw themselves in front of her moving metal thing in some sort of ritual.

Excited, Nimdo calls in his colleagues. Intelligent life discovered! Surely he will win some sort of big alien colony award. By the time Looch and Bimdil arrive, there is a picture of a man on the steps of an important structure explaining to another group that something called "his client" would vehemently defend all charges and is "unavailable for comment due to the fact she is in rehab." (Note to alien self: I can't seem to take my seven eyes off these images.)

Another picture surfaces – people are cheering as a gladiator of some sort runs around a chalk-striped field wearing padding and a shirt with a number on it. Nimdo and friends are rapt, taking copious notes (do aliens take copious notes? Well, whatever they do – they are doing it).

Later, the picture cuts to the gladiator's face, but this time the numbers are not printed on his shirt. They are on a small black board he is holding. Does this mean something different? Apparently this gladiator has done something really great because a very officious person in black robes has "granted" him something called "bail." This must be a great thing as he will return to the same place later to participate in another ceremony where he will receive "25 years to life." Apparently life is a gift on this planet and must be given by an official because of some great deed!

But before they can digest this – a picture of the slender blonde appears again! "Oh, she looks fatter here," exclaims Looch. Nimdo looks at him in shock. "She does not!" Meanwhile, Bimdil hushes them both as he tries to hear what the announcer is saying about her being "thrown out of a club." They can't imagine what that means, but they keep wondering – for days.

Several weeks later, the elders of the alien colony destroy the signal-capturing device. After much study, they determined that while it did find something out there – it was not intelligent and m ost certainly wasn't life. Also, it had a numbing effect on three of their top scientists. The researchers couldn't turn away and became bitter enemies over whether someone named Britney was a good mother or if Katie really loved Tom.

The council told the three scientists to get a life.

• Peter Crabbe, a comedy writer, lives in Los Angeles.

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