Why Time Travel is a Bad Idea

February 2, 2015

When my brother was about 4 and I was about 5, we tried to build a time machine out of cardboard boxes. I’m not sure why Mom let us think it might actually work, but since this was the same mom who gave us a bucket of water and brushes so we could “paint” the house, apparently she believed any activity that kept two bored kids busy wasn’t worth upending.

Anyway, I’m glad our contraption was unsuccessful.

Who knew time travel was a real thing? Photo: Flickr

Who knew time travel was a real thing?
Photo: Flickr

At first blush certain eras seem like an interesting—if not grand—time to be alive. But think about this:

The First Thanksgiving. Since it was America’s original block party/potluck, I assume everyone brought their specialty. Meaning, back then, there weren’t too many Jell-O salads—there was too much venison. Or swan. Yes, swan. Pass the Pepto.

Downton Abbey’s 1920s. I’ve never watched it, but I know the premise. It all looks so luxurious until I remember that the odds of my being Lady Grantham are slim. More likely, I’d be her servant. Or a servant. I understand there are many.

July 1776. It wasn’t all sparklers, picnics, and central air, that’s for sure. WeatherSpark.com says Philadelphia has a “humid continental climate with hot summers and no dry season.” We were in Philadelphia one Fourth of July that fell on a Sunday, and attended services at Christ Church. I remember two things: awe and heat. No, three things: humidity. Crowds, heavy clothing, and—if memory serves (from history class, not first-hand knowledge)—a lack of regularly-scheduled bathing? A revolt of some sort was inevitable.

“The Good Ol’ Days.” No particular time in history, but at least 20 years prior to present day. I invite you to sit back, close your eyes, and remember your summers as a kid: the ice cream man, playing outside after dark, foregoing shoes. Ah, those were the days. Now open your eyes and remember how things really were: your hands sticky from Popsicles melting faster than you could eat them, mosquito bites, and stubbing your big toe on the curb.

Interesting? Sure. Grand? Not exactly. All things considered I’m content ignoring today’s robocalls and electronic spam, thank you very much.


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