I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that December the 8th is International Pretend To Be a Time Traveller Day. I’ve come here today from the future to tell you about it six months in advance so you can all prepare properly, and thus avert a horrible future where I celebrate alone1 with a foil hat and a cardboard box.2
On December the 8th you will have a licence to mess with people. You can run up to strangers, ask them what year it is, and then shout ‘THEN THERE’S STILL TIME!’3 You can dress in a tin foil uniform and try and arrest people for having their own thoughts and feelings. (Outlawed in the future, you see?) You can even don your most resplendent Victorian finery and say ‘Blimey!’ at electronic goods. Bonus points if you pick up a toaster and say ‘crumbs’.
TIME TRAVEL! Where will you go? Space? Prehistoric Times? Luton?4
If I was able to time-travel, I would go back in time to find my eight-year old self, and make unsettling prophecies. I think I would start proceedings with one of the best sentences a human can possibly say; ‘Don’t be alarmed – I’m you from the future’, and then I’d move on to a cryptic, ominous warning; something like ‘beware the cycloptic man!’
Would my past self heed the warning? How would it be understood? Prophecies are never explicit, unfortunately, and are often open to interpretation. Would past-me reason that the emphasis like on the one visible eye, and would I develop a deep-seated dread of pirates, the 2012 Olympic Mascots and people who wink a lot?5 Or would my younger self understand that the important part was the functioning eye, and develop an irrational fear of the visually impaired, which would be mightily insensitive of him, the prick.
What a winker.
Also, would I, the future self, instantly feel the impact of a long-held dark thoughts, instilled at a young age? Would my life differ? Would some of my memories change? Perhaps, in an alternate timeline, my resentment of pirates lead to me avoiding open water, and as a result I never learned to swim and drowned in an apple bobbing contest one Hallowe’en.
Eventually, I would reach the age I was when I went back in time in the first place, and realise that nothing happened between the two points to justify my future-self’s warning. As I complete the loop, I would realise exactly how much of a grade-A arsehole I am. I would then have to go back in time to begin the cycle again, this time with an omniscient self-hatred at the task I have to do.
Instead, I would then go back in time and undo it all, and I would also not write a blog that makes insensitive jokes about the singularly sighted.
A Calvin and Hobbes reference is always appropriate. (© Bill Watterson)
What would you do if you could travel through time? Would you come back? What if you couldn’t? Would you change the past? Would you try and get off with your mum like Michael J. Fox?
1 Not a euphemism.
2 Still not a euphemism.
3 If someone does that this year, and is dressed as a Mayan, for God’s sake follow them and help out.
4 If you know what this is an obscure reference to, we should be Actual Best Friends.
5 Our mascots are named Wenlock and Mandeville, which co-incidentally are the names of Simple Joe’s testiballs. His penis is called Batman.