A few days ago, Yahoo News promoted a story from LiveScience.com under the rather provocative (and somewhat inaccurate) headline, “You Can’t Travel Back in Time, Scientists Say.”
The actual answer is that you could, if you lived in a “super civilization.” But we don’t, alas. We live in a world where a failed major league baseball owner has managed to pass himself of as warmonger-in-chief, and where we can’t seem to muster the necessary energy to break free from an unhealthy reliance on fossil fuels. Obvious allusions to Cheryl Sarkisian LaPiere aside, you just can’t turn back time...just yet.
But it did get my creative wheels turning, I have to admit. What if it were actually possible to hop into a way-back machine? What if, say, a bulky time contraption, like something out of an Irwin Allen television show, were to land on my front lawn, were to open up its sliding doors? What if I were to pick my chin up off the ground, walk up its metal ramp, and make my way to the navigation chamber, to sit back in a black naugahyde captain’s chair and punch in a specific time and destination? Whirr...buzz...click...
Would I pick a specific historical destination? I could set the coordinates to land a few months before the crucifixion of Christ, just to see if all those rumors about loaves and fishes were true. I could take a first-hand inventory of the actual number in the collected works Billy Shakes. I might even take a detour to see what the Colossus of Rhodes actually looked like. Just to take a peak up his tunic.
Then again, I wonder whether I would use my machine to travel back in time to a specific date in my own life.
I could use it to see my grandmother again. To have one more evening of tea and toast, snuggled up to her on her couch.
Of course, the whole idea is totally impossible. The thought of coming into contact with a younger me...I mean, what would I say? I’d probably feel compelled to rush up and slap that younger me across the face, screaming out, “Snap out of it, you sulky twat!”
Chances are, the younger me probably wouldn’t really appreciate that, much.
Okay, but there’s a bigger question here...a question that I thought quite a bit about since I read the time travel article. If said time machine dropped down into my yard, would I use it to travel back in time and actually change something in my past?
I’ll be honest. I wracked my brains on that one, sorting out the possibilities. I certainly wouldn’t change getting involved with Josie, not one bit. Josie led to Annie led to Ashes led to Theo. In some ways, led to Corb. In many ways, led to me sorting out who I was, and more than likely, kept me alive through the eighties.
I certainly wouldn't change my scandalous adventures after I moved out from the homestead. If anything, I'd squeeze in a few more! And I wouldn't change a single minute of my years so far with the Corbster. In fact...if I could simply re-live a few of them...
Life events are like dominos. Change one thing and the rest come tumbling down, one after the other. To alter one event in my life would rob me of the opportunity to discover what that event ultimately meant in my life, and what lesson it taught me. It would probably change the very core of who I am as a person.
I guess, when I really think about it, there are really only two events that I would want to alter. Once involves an ugly incident with my brother, many years ago, that I would just as soon wipe from the blackboard.
The other involves a friendship that I destroyed with a particularly cruel remark. The friendship wasn’t a particularly healthy one, but I regret the way that I acted, and wish that I had found the courage at the time to discuss my feelings for this person—what I was going through—in a more rational manner. On the other hand, had that occurred, there’s a chance that I never would have met Josie, and...well, there go those dominos again...
Would you take that trip through time to change something about your life? Is there anything about the road you’ve taken that you wish you had handled differently?