Monday, March 27, 2006

What I Know About Time Travel

(Lessons Learned from Watching Ten Episodes of the Time Tunnel Back-to-Back)

  • Do not run into the Time Tunnel (or any time-transportation device for that matter). Not even to justify its cost or to keep a senator from cutting off the funding.

  • If you find yourself in the Time Tunnel - get out, quickly.
If you do get sent to a new time, a few things to keep in mind:
  • Do not ask people what year it is. You can ask what time it is, and it's usually okay to ask for the date, but something about not knowing the year rubs people the wrong way.

  • Nine times out of ten, you will travel into the past. The reason for this is not clear.

  • When traveling into the past, you will most likely arrive the day before something momentous happens, i.e., the fall of Troy, the eruption of Krakatoa, Custer's last stand, etc.

  • Everyone in the past speaks english. This is, frankly, astounding. Oh, except that little French boy on the Titanic. He understands english perfectly, but speaks only french.

  • Despite having a common language, people in the past - for the most part - want to hurt you.

  • If you prove to people you can foretell the future, one of two things will happen. Rational people will take you for a spy and seek to torture and/or kill you. Religious/superstitious folk will take you for a god (not good for long) or a devil (definitely bad).

  • A karate chop to the neck is your best defense. Master the karate chop; it can be used to instantly neutralize just about any opponent.

  • You will sweat. A lot. Get used to it. It should be called the Time and Sweat Tunnel, actually.

  • No matter in what century you land, the attire which seems least likely to cause alarm consists of either a 1960's turtleneck and slacks combo or an early 20th century tweed suit*. Trading your clothing for more era-appropriate garments is acceptable, but keep in mind they will be instantly replaced with what you were wearing when you first entered the Tunnel the next time you are "Positioned".

  • If you do happen to get dropped into a time slightly close to your own and meet someone you know from your own past, do not begin shouting and begging. People always take this the wrong way. Actually, that's fairly good advice even if you're not traveling back in time.

  • On the rare occasion when you do travel into the future, tread lightly. If you're within ten years of your own time, the past self of anyone you meet in the future could be back at the Time Tunnel watching you. I know this sounds complicated, but trust me; if you expose this person as a spy or criminal in the future, this past self will most likely attempt to destroy the Time Tunnel and kill the people (Ray and Ann) trying to help you.
General Notes
  • Ray and Ann should be fired. Or not. Despite repeated attempts, they can't seem to snatch the right people back out of time, although they have little trouble bringing back enraged, armed warriors and ticking bombs. On the other hand, they are, after all, attempting to rescue the two whack-job scientists who built the tunnel and then foolishly jumped into it in the first place. In other words, Ray and Ann are struggling to retrieve the very brainiacs who can best help them do it - not an enviable situation.

  • Jerry should not be allowed anywhere near the controls at any time. Jerry could be let go.

  • Ray and Ann can send you back in time and shift you all over the past, but they cannot get you back to the here-and-now. Well, they can, but only in a time-warp where you exist between two microseconds and everyone else is frozen. This is okay if you want to peek down Ann's blouse or put General Kirk's cigarette in his mouth backwards, but it's pretty much useless otherwise. It's best to just scribble them a quick note and then go back into the Tunnel so they can try again.

  • The Tunnel itself can project full-color, gigantic images from out of time onto thin air and reproduce fourth-dimensional sound in hi-fi audio, but the computer which runs it can't display anything other than enormous sine waves. All information from the computer is via teletype. Someone should talk to Purchasing about getting a couple of VGA monitors.

*Women have not been observed traveling in the Time Tunnel. Neither voluntarily nor "Positioned" by Ray and Ann. The first case might be attributable to woman's innately superior common sense and the latter is probably due to science's understandable aversion to placing any woman in an era for which she might not be properly dressed.


Some things not to say when talking with people in other times
  • "Does the bus come by here?"
  • "Why isn't this in color?"
  • "Oh yeah, the president"
  • "I have one made out of plastic"
  • "I remember that"
  • "I saw this on TV"
  • "My mom had one of these!
  • "Oh shit! That blimp is going to explode!"
  • "Why are there so many horses?"
  • "Aren't those worth a lot of money?"
  • "Where's the toilet paper?"
  • "Just put it in the fridge"
  • "The Japanese are going to bomb us tomorrow!"
  • "He/she didn't make it"
  • "That's not a bicycle"
  • "That's against the law"
  • "How do I open this?"
  • "So? Just buy another one"


Kristen said...

ROFL! I've never seen the show, but am a sci-fi fan... I haven't laughed so hard in a long time! *grin* I think these tidbits of wisdom must be universally applicable to time travel - heh. Love the robots too, of course!

Michael said...

I couldn't have put it better myself.

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