Are you a regular reader of the Orient? If you are, then you probably already know: We've got aliens.

Exhibit A: Item one of the February 17 installment of the Orient news section's "Bowdoin Briefs" reads, and I quote: "A mysterious design in the snow appeared early this week on the Quad and left members of the Bowdoin community baffled as to how it got there. While some wrote it off as the work of student pranksters, others suggested that extraterrestrial forces might be involved."

Need any more evidence? Didn't think so.

In light of this disquieting development, I will ask that you take certain precautions before you continue reading this column:

First, fashion a helmet out of tinfoil and wear it at all times. I think I saw someone do it in a movie once, and it kept the aliens from reading the guy's thoughts. Although we can't be sure that these are the same aliens, it would be an unnecessary and foolish risk at this point not to wear foil helmets. Plus, I have a hunch these are the same guys.

Second, I want you to (inconspicuously!) scan your immediate surroundings for alien spies. Look for "humans" with loose skin, especially around the face and neck. According to the 1997 film "Men in Black," aliens can extract a person's skeleton and viscera without damaging his epidermis, and then effectively dissemble as that person without any suggestive evidence beyond loose skin?and I'm pretty sure "Men in Black" was a documentary.

Also, if you see a "person" that you think you may have seen somewhere else recently, that "person" is almost certainly an alien doppelganger. Destroy him by any means necessary.

"What if I just happened to see them in two different places by coincidence?" you might ask. "I don't want to 'destroy' my friend!"

You na?ve fool! In this post-2/17 world, violating the rights of innocent people is a necessary sacrifice. If we let human ethics cloud our interstellar counter-aggression policies, the aliens win!

But there's no time for squabbling; time is not our friend. You must pay close attention:

Realizing that most of my strategies for fending off extraterrestrial invaders came from vague recollections of cinema, I ran a Google search for "how to avoid alien abduction" (don't worry; I covered my computer in tinfoil, too). It led me to a web log,, where alien expert Melinda Leslie has listed ways to tell whether a person has been abducted. Here are few symptoms that I found particularly alarming:

1) "You have a cosmic awareness, an interest in ecology, environment, vegetarianism, or are very socially conscious."

Is it just me, or does this describe roughly nine out of every 10 Bowdoin students? This is much worse than I thought. At this point, I am forced to assume that the majority of my classmates are aliens. That means they have access to this newspaper! Luckily, bearers of the aforementioned attributes probably junked their copy of the Orient after reading whatever the brothers Linhart contributed this week.

2) "You have awoken in another place than where you went to sleep, or don't remember going to sleep."

Another seine. I recall that not too long ago, a friend of mine awoke on the floor of Crack House in a pool of old beer and saliva (and God knows what else) without remembering how he got there. Is he an alien, or did he just drink too much? Assuming that a responsible Bowdoin student would have more sense than to drink more than he could handle, I am forced to conclude the former.

3) "You have had sexual or relationship problems, such as an odd 'feeling' that you must not become involved in a relationship because it would interfere with 'something.'"

I can now confirm that all girls I've ever hit on at Bowdoin are aliens. What a relief!

4) "You have an extreme aversion toward the subject of UFOs or aliens?you don't want to talk about it."

I don't know about anyone else, but every time I've tried to propose the idea of alien involvement in current or historical world affairs, my professor has disregarded my comment and dismissed me from the class. This means they've infiltrated the faculty. I guess that would explain all the loose skin...

Lastly, and I'm not kidding about this:

5) "You have awoken with soreness in your genitals which can not be explained."

So anyone who has ever written in to the "Ask Dr. Jeff" column is an alien.

As you can see, this leaves us with very few allies. But what we lack in numbers, we shall make up for in cunning! I returned to my foil-encased laptop to research the next step: deciphering the crop circles.

In pursuit of this goal, I stumbled across some published interviews with a man named Steve Canada, who quit his job as a social worker to take on a far more important job as an interplanetary communications cryptologist. For over a decade, Canada has conducted chemical and cryptological analyses of crop circles and has authored 28 books on aliens-human interaction. With regards to deciphering meaning from the patterns, his work has yielded...

Absolutely nothing. Thanks, Steve Canada.

I guess that leaves interpreting the Bowdoin phenomenon up to me. The sign on the Quad comprises three concentric circles, each bearing a different color. It seems obvious that this is some sort of practice-target for an apocalyptic death ray that the aliens will eventually aim at major cities. We should notify the Pentagon immediately?in the meantime, I advise you not to venture into the inner rings unless you want to be zapped into oblivion.

That's all I can tell you for now. We have no way of knowing when the aliens will strike next, so just lay low in your tinfoil fortresses and await further instructions.

And for those aliens who might be reading, rest assured that I am actually an alien myself, and I am using the print news media to help flush out subversive humans.

(I think that bought us some time. Vive la résistance!)