The Particular Advantages of Time Travel
Time traveling sure sounds like a great idea. I’d love to go back to the JFK assassination and hide in the book depository to see what really happened, maybe even stop it. Elizabethan London would probably suit me. Despite my poor grasp of Latin, I like to think I could make it in ancient Rome. Heck, I’d go all the way back to the Jurassic just to catch a single glimpse of dinosaurs in the flesh.
But it’s not going to happen. That’s all crazy talk. It’s H.G. Wells—the stuff of fantasy novels. If you think about the basic laws of physics, then you’ll see it’s impossible. Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine was a cartoon, you know? You’ll never be able to jump around in a space ship to different points in history. This is Time we are talking about, not Space.
Travelling to the future? OK, that’s theoretically possible. The speed of light and all that. Get going fast enough so time slows down for you relative to everyone else and presto, you end up in the future. So you could travel forward in time, but my question is, why would you want to? Life’s passing by fast enough as it is. Do you really want to get to the future that badly? It’s coming anyway. We’re all time travelers in moving in the same direction, travelling forward every day.
For my money, the real advantage of a time machine would be Reversal. A Time Reversal Machine. Get the clock going in the opposite direction. Roll time backwards. I’d pay big bucks to be able to do that. Time shouldn’t have to be a one-way street.
If you had a time machine that could unravel time with a press of a button, if you could go back to any point in your life, then where would you go? Think about the possibilities. I might go back to high school for another shot at that finger-tip catch. I could pull that button-hook a bit tighter, squeeze the pigskin closer, be a Champion. Or maybe I’d head back to college freshman year for another chance, back to the night in Angie’s dorm room . Ah, Angie—red hair with a curl, my left brain knows all love is fleeting….
A Time Reversal Machine – yeah, now that’s what I call Free Will! Then we might really be able to learn from our mistakes. Life could be one big Choose Your Own Adventure. You kept your fingers in the pages so you could go back, didn’t you?
Oh, the places I’d go if I had a time machine like that. Here’s one: January 18, 1997. I’d never step foot in that car the second time around, never drive down Route 93, never get in that accident, never have to apologize for that again, never have to avoid thinking about that day. I’d stay in bed all day instead. That’d be a good one to change.
I’m not greedy, though. Perhaps there are some things you can’t change. I could always go for something smaller, more recent.
If I had a Time Reversal Machine, then I could go back in time to last Saturday night. Remember when we were sitting at dinner, after the meal but before the deserts came? It was a silly conversation we were having, probably brought on by finishing the entire bottle.
“I’d like to write a book someday,” I said. “Something that matters.”
“A book?” you said.
“Yeah, like a novel.”
“Forget it,” you told me. “You’ll never do that. You’re too lazy. Jesus, get your head out of the clouds. See what I have to put up with.”
If I could go back in time, then I wouldn’t look down at my lap and stay quiet because I felt embarrassed in front of my friends. No way. I would look you straight in the eye and tell you exactly what I was thinking and feeling, even if it caused a scene. I wouldn’t waste another chance to tell you how much that hurt. I wouldn’t try my hardest to smooth things over, I swear I wouldn’t.