High Strangeness: UFO Kiss-Off

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

UFO Kiss-Off

A week or two ago I sent a check and a membership application to the Center for UFO Studies, the research organization founded by Dr. J. Allen Hynek. I figured it was a prerequisite for writing a book about Hynek, and, well... I was getting the feeling that all the really cool UFO people belong to CUFOS (sorry, MUFON).

So today I got a nice, fat envelope in the mail from CUFOS, and I couldn't wait to tear it open and revel in my new membership card and sew-on patch! But, no, there was nothing of the sort inside. There was a letter, along with my returned check, un-cashed...

Wha...? Had I been rejected by the cool UFO people? How could that be possible? Did I even want to read this kiss-off letter? Would my fragile ego survive the blow?

Slowly, I unfolded the letter and started to read:

"Dear Mr. O'Connell," it started out threateningly, "Thank you for your Associate Application Form and contribution of $25 to become an Associate and receive the International UFO Reporter."

Ok, now I was confused. Why were they thanking me?

"However," the letter went on, "we have not deposited your check because the CUFOS board is in the middle of rethinking the publications and information outlets for CUFOS, given the focus on web-based platforms and other technologies as compared to print publications."

Aha! I wasn't rejected at all. They were looking out for me, returning my $25 until such time as they decide whether to continue publishing their journal, and if so, in what medium. "Thus, in fairness," the letter concluded, "we don't want to accept your contribution before we've sorted out things on our end."

Not wanting to be left behind, the Center for UFO Studies will soon be entering the digital age with the help of modern computing machines such as this one.
I was and am deeply impressed. Not just that they returned my money, but that they seem to be taking such a serious look at revamping their organization to embrace the digital age. Because, let me tell you something: UFOs aren't going to be long in embracing the digital age themselves -- in fact, some evidence suggests they may already have done so -- and any UFO research organization that doesn't want to be left behind would be well advised to sort out things it has on its end, as CUFOS is so bravely doing.

Although my CUFOS membership has been rejected, for now, I can truly say that I would be proud to be a member of such a polite, thoughtful, sorted-out organization. If they would let me join.

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