The recent creation of a Facebook event inviting people to “storm Area 51” has given Greg Schwem a new idea for his next family vacation.
Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author.

I burst excitedly into our family room, finding my wife and two daughters staring at their phones while some mindless reality show droned in the background. A typical night in the Schwem household.
“Attention, please, everyone,” I said. “In the name of science, I have found our next vacation destination.”
“Ahem, I said I have found our next…”
“We heard you,” my wife said. “And we’re not going.”
“You don’t even know where it is.”
“Doesn’t matter,” she said. “We are not doing anything in the name of science.”
“Yeah, Dad,” my eldest chimed in. “Last year you wanted us to go to St. Louis and catch the flu. On purpose.”
“We would have each made $3,500,” I said, referring to last summer’s study at St. Louis University in which researchers sought out healthy volunteers who would consent to being exposed to the flu virus, followed by 10 days in quarantine.
“Dad, what’s in your hand?” my youngest asked. “Are those bolt cutters?”
“Yes,” I said. “We might need them if we are going to see aliens.”
My girls, huge fans of “Stranger Things” on Netflix, dropped their phones. I finally had their attention. My wife, not so much.
“What do you mean, ‘see aliens?’” my oldest said.
“On September 20, we are going to Groom Lake in Nevada, specifically to storm Area 51,” I said. “The event is on Facebook, and I’ve already responded ‘interested.’ Along with 1.4 million others.”
“Sounds like we’ll have no problem getting a hotel,” my wife said.
I gave my daughters a brief history lesson on Area 51, a highly-classified Air Force facility that, for years, has been the subject of conspiracy theories, most related to the housing and study of UFOs and other extraterrestrial beings that may have landed in this country.
The site returned to the news recently when California resident Matty Roberts created the “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” Facebook page. Roberts admitted the site, and the event itself, is a joke, but that hasn’t stopped 1.8 million people from insisting they are attending, including five of my Facebook friends.
“I’m going because I’m interested in history, and there are a lot of historical files at the base,” said Facebook friend Stephen Haas, 29, a New York City stand-up comedian. Then, he added, facetiously, “I’m not some conspiracy nutjob looking for aliens. I just want to know which Apollo 11 astronaut killed Kennedy.”
I pulled up Google Maps on my phone and began plotting our route. “If we fly, we should probably go to Las Vegas and rent a car,” I said. “Area 51 is about three hours away.”
“Can you just pick me up on the way back?” my wife asked. “I’ll hang out at the Mirage pool, and you can send me texts of the three of you cavorting with your new Martian friends.”
“Are you really going to uses the bolt cutters, Dad?” my oldest asked. “I’m interviewing for jobs now, and I don’t want ‘felony trespassing’ to pop up on my background check.”
I assured her I would only use them as a last resort.
“Or we could just borrow a pair,” my youngest said. “With over a million people in attendance, odds are pretty good that somebody has a spare set.”
“Let’s talk attire,” I said, changing the subject. “We may have to walk about 50 miles before we actually reach the gates, particularly if our flight is late. So sensible shoes are a must. And sunscreen.”
“We need as many portable phone chargers as we can carry,” my youngest said. “Can you imagine finally seeing an alien and not being able to put it on Instagram because your phone is dead? I. Would. Die.”
The three of us continued our checklist, adding and subtracting items at will until we were satisfied we were totally prepared to, as the Facebook page states, “see them aliens.”
“What if we get captured?” my oldest said.
“By aliens or the military?” I replied.
“Say nothing,” I commanded. “At least not without a lawyer present.”
“What if we get taken to a spaceship?”
“We’ll worry about that if it happens.”
“Ask them if their spaceship can fly to St. Louis,” my wife said. “Then you call all make $3,500 and spend 10 days with only each other as company.”
Sounds like a great vacation for next year.
(Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author of two books: “Text Me If You’re Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad” and the recently released “The Road To Success Goes Through the Salad Bar: A Pile of BS From a Corporate Comedian,” available at Visit Greg on the web at