Written by Malinda Just Tuesday, 15 September 2009 13:41
In 1895, H.G. Wells wrote “The Time Machine,” centering on a main character who uses a time machine to selectively travel through the years. This novella is credited with the mainstream popularization of the sci-fi concept of time travel.
Since then, the notion of time travel has made millions of dollars in the film industry alone.
In the 1985 movie “Back to the Future,” the main characters use a DeLorean—equipped with a flux capacitor—to time travel. But any changes made to the past make a grim future.
In the 2004 movie “The Butterfly Effect,” the main character’s time travel is stimulated by reading childhood journals. But the more he changes the past, the worse his future becomes. Notice any similarities?
And most recently, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” hit the box office. This film is based on Audrey Niffenegger’s book of the same name. In this story, the main character has a genetic disorder that makes him unwillingly time travel. He isn’t allowed to change the past, but is only an onlooker. At one point, he does try to alter the past, but only antagonizes another character, leading to the “bad thing” he is trying to change.
Besides time travel, one main theme arises in these stories: Changing the past leads to a failed future.
But reading “The Time Traveler’s Wife”—I haven’t yet seen the movie—got me thinking. What would I change in my past? (Barring the common notion that anything I change can and would have a direct and negative correlation to my future). Wow. Confusing. But I did come up with a few ideas.
First, I would tell my fifth-grade self not to run around first base so fast in a recess game of kickball. Had I not been in such a hurry, perhaps the base wouldn’t have slipped on loose gravel and I could have avoided two unsightly scars on my left knee.
Then again, they are pretty impressive battle wounds, and I did get some sympathy from my childhood crush….
Or, I should tell my seventh-grade self not to get that obnoxious perm to go along with my feathered bangs. My hair was (and still is) very thick, so the perm didn’t hold around the crown of my head. So in effect, I looked a tad bit like a mushroom. And I have my class photo to prove it.
Then again, if that never happened, I wouldn’t have been able to use the last 59 words to describe the incident, and you, my reader, would be deprived of a very important life-lesson: Avoid mushroom-perms and feathered bangs.
Maybe I should warn my Tabor-freshman self to avoid the ever-available desserts in the cafeteria. That slow “Freshman 15” weight gain sure put a damper on my debut college track season. But those desserts were the most edible thing in the cafeteria. And gaining weight is better than starving, right?
Plus a summer of my mom’s cooking—and training for the next year’s volleyball season—took the weight right off. No harm done.
Perhaps it would be beneficial to warn my April-self that we’d be taking an expensive “vacation” at an all-inclusive bed and breakfast (aka Via Christi St. Francis) with our daughter.
But aside from saving up money to pay our insurance deductible, my warning wouldn’t do any good. And we still wouldn’t have any answers five months later.
But I should definitely tell my three-week-ago self to buy new athletic shoes before starting my rec volleyball season. Somehow my left “ring” toe got caught under my foot when I landed after spiking a ball—on the first play of the season, no less. (Seriously, how does that happen?)
I never went to the doctor, but given the fact that it still hurts, is still swollen and had lots of bruising, my best diagnosis is that I broke it. The day after I hurt my toe, I bought new athletic shoes that fit properly. I guess hindsight is 20-20.
On a positive note, I’ve burned many calories laughing at myself. And, since laughter is the best medicine, I should be healed soon anyway. Might as well keep my broken toe.