John Boston | Phasers: Kill, Stun or Erectile Dysfunction?

John Boston

Small things disturb me. Like, Phasers. You know. “Phased Array Emitter?” Remember? From the old 1966 TV show, “Star Trek?” Bill Shatner. Captain Kirk. “Boldly go where no man has gone before …” Which was coincidentally what a rabbi said to me at my first wedding. 

Funny. Except for being needlessly argumentative, I’m not remotely Jewish and, years later, still can’t figure out why 43 Rows of Rabbis (band name), were attending our wedding at Our Lady of Perpetual Motion Catholic Church on Lyons.  

Phased Array Emitters (Phasers) were these itsy-bitsy hand-held weapons the size of a flip phone. They could either make you gently faint or vaporize Oakland. Say it with me. Not … A bad … Idea … Phasers came from the space factory with but the two settings — “Stun” and “Kill.” 

This strikes me as a design flaw, especially in a culture that invented a UFO the size of Mojave that could fly 10 times the speed of light and could decompose every cell in your body, send it to some hostile environment like the Democratic-run Valencia, then reassemble you. Perfectly. After being beamed up, down or sideways, you never saw a Star Trek cast member walking by a big space department store, stop, inspect his face closely in the giant Macy’s storefront window and say, “Geez. Didn’t that fetching little beauty mark used to be on my right cheek and not my left?” 

Battle can be stressful. You’re being attacked, let’s say by, oh — pink but angry giant space gorillas with samurai swords AND ray guns. Kirk yells out, “SET PHASERS TO STUN!!” 

Cannon Fodder Ensign No. 11 About To Die clears his throat. Meekly, he raises his hand. “Jim. ‘Stun?’ Really? For a battalion of rampaging, giant, roaring apes the color of Pepto-Bismol whose mission statement is, ‘Eat Alive, Me, The Junior Officer With But One Space Line?’” 

Sure. Fine. It’s in the script. But I’m setting my Phaser from “Mildly Hurt Their Primitive Stinky Bubble Gum Space Ape Feelings” to the “Hamilton Beach Nuke/Pulverize” setting. Not even CSI Uranus would be able to find one Space Booger. 

I’ve watched every episode of the original “Star Trek” and Shatner’s overacting 153 times and I don’t recall seeing any buttons or settings on a Phaser that read, “RIGHTY FOR STUNNY & LEFTY FOR KILLY.” No toggle switch to choose between “Mild Water Pik Gum Discomfort” or “Oh Cripes. Left Miniature Poodle In The Microwave for 45 Minutes.” 

It just strikes me that a civilization zipping through space and time at speeds in excess of 35 mph would have the advanced military wherewithal to design a weapon with a response menu broader than “Vaporize That Insatiable & Tentacled Space Whore,” or, “Issue Snide Remark.” 

I mean, if Star Trek’s Phaser went commercial, you’d have to have more than two choice settings — right? 

Your wife announces, “Honey. My unwashed mother who smells of talcum powder is coming over for a few months to use your power tools and watch that Hallmark Christmas Romance Marathon in your man cave.” 


Or —  

“Vaporize Then Jump Up & Down On Mother’s Little Electrons Running Around On The Garage Floor Screaming In Little High-Pitched Voices?” 

I don’t know if science has advanced enough to include a setting for “Sisters-in-Law Hanging Underwear In Your Shop Bathroom.” 

Hm. Clever me. Now there’s a wedding gift idea. 

Spouse Phasers. 

Being more civilized than even 1966 Hollywood, I’d offer more than the two settings. Like, “Ear Pull” for the bride. For some reason, women can get away with an, ahem — a friendly — yank on the ear lobe. A guy innocently pinches, twists and makes 11 complete circles on his wife’s annoying Shih Tzu’s earlobe during a disagreement over where to vacation — Paris or National Tractor Pull — and, voila, the hubbie, not the dog, is in supermax for a hate crime.  

For the husband, there would have to be a variety of settings, like, “NON-NAG” or “IS THERE A POINT TO YOUR STORY ABOUT TODAY’S ADVENTURES IN THE PRODUCE AISLE AT VON’S?” 

The beauty of capitalism is that Spousal Phasers would probably spawn a rash of knock-off products. We’d have to have variations of a Movie Phaser. The entry-level model allows you to liquify teenage punks or old people who talk loudly in theaters and perhaps science could create a Phaser that would allow you to zap your date and turn them into either Megan Fox or Brad Pitt, or, in these woke climes, both, so that making out in the back row isn’t so unpalatable. 

Me? I’d simply love a Democrat Phaser. You zap some socialist imbecile and they don’t disappear. They just slowly develop the inability to remove internal waste products, grow to 1,200 pounds, then explode while buying drugs at a homeless encampment or, better, at a teachers’ union meeting. 

A normal and heated husband-and-wife disagreement would certainly look different with Spousal Phasers. Envision this. Man and woman are hiding behind overturned furniture. They quickly rise to fire shots at one another while blowing up lamps and paralyzing cats and toddlers into forever frozen and startled expressions.  

Is marriage ready for this kind of technology? Science would change the entire Man/Woman Romance Dynamic. Couples would sleep with Spousal Phasers under their pillows. 

Local sheriff’s deputies get a call for a Domestic Dispute on Via Droopy Chango in Canyon Country. They investigate a suspicious puddle of simmering DNA on the bedroom carpet with a gold wedding ring smoldering in the middle. Legs crossed, wife is in a carefree and open silk bathrobe, filing her nails, calmly explaining, “I thought it was a burglar …” 


Poor guy. It’s bad enough, getting vaporized. But then, he gets assigned the lowly pronoun of “it” instead of “he.”  

John Boston is the most prolific satirist in your puny earthlings’ history. That doesn’t mean the guy doesn’t have to eat. Visit his bookstore at Leave your Book Phasers at the front door.

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