Saturday, April 1, 2017

Shakespeare in time

As regular readers of my blog know, I recently received a time machine. It is in the form of a stocking cap. You type instructions on a cloth keyboard in the hat, with a general description of where, when, and/or to whom you'd like to go to, and the AI in the time traveling cap does the rest. In a painless blink you're back in time.

Except mostly you aren't. Because it is impossible to go back to the past and effect the future, the time travel hat can only take you to a "safe" spot. In an obvious example you can't go back and stop your grandparents' meeting. It doesn't let you in the same way gravity doesn't let you jump to the moon. What this ultimately means is that out of maybe 200 time travel attempts only one will work. This makes time travel less fun and amazing than one might think. Imagine if out of every 200 things you looked up on the Internet only one was interesting or worthwhile.

Oh, right, that is how the Internet works. But you take my point.

So anyway, if I want to go on any trip to the past I need to devote hours of futile attempts to it in the hopes of getting briefly lucky. When I do make it back to the past, anything I do, or, really, intend to do that will change the future sends me back to the present. I never know what that might be, or might've been, but even keeping a low profile and doing nearly nothing might only give me 15 minutes in some wildly obscure place before I pop back to the now.

So while one might love to go back and see Jesus or Dinosaurs, these are the least likely attempts one can make. The more famous a person or influential a place the more susceptible to changes it is. Also the further back one goes the easier it is for some minute thing to cascade into change. All this translates to an annoying error sound in the hat and a trip back to the drawing board. It turns out that the sweet spot for being able to time travel, at least as I have found it so far, is to go back to somewhere in the 1990's, to a patch of remote, unremarkable woods, and then sit there very quietly. I saw a deer once.

I, your time traveling reporter, am here to report that a second growth Canadian forest in the 90's is pretty similar to the ones we've got now.

So time travel would be something close to a bust if it weren't for loops.

Loops are unexplained, and possibly unexplainable, phenomenon in the past that appear, to the acute eye, to be the result of time travel. If something in the past is the result of time travel, then one will be able to travel back in time and make it happen. This is how I received my time machine hat from the future, and this was how I was able to travel back in time to meet William Shakespeare.

Of course, I didn't know it was a loop, not for sure, until my attempt to travel back actually worked. After countless futile endeavors to reach dead writers I admired I was amazed to find myself in a dark room in England in the late 1500's. Shakespeare was working at a desk. I doubt we could have communicated but my time travel cap comes with a built in field, or area of effect, translator that actually works pretty well.

"Wow, Shakespeare!" I exclaimed. This was way bigger than seeing a historical deer in a obscure forest in the 1990's.

"Yes, that is I." Said Shakespeare with a bemused trepidation. "Where do you come from?"

"The future." I replied. Why not tell him? Either I could or I couldn't. "I brought a few of my best essays and wondered if you'd read them and give me your thoughts."

"Sure." He said, holding out his hand. I gave him the blog posts and he started in on them after an appraising feel of the, to him, unusual paper.

He read with quiet concentration for awhile, then, amused at something, he snorted through his nose. I'd kill to know now what he thought was funny, but at the time I didn't want to break his concentration.

"These can be tough to understand sometimes." He said. "I wish they had footnotes. Who is Bob Dylan?"

"Oh, right." I exclaimed. "I forgot I put that one in there. It depends on who you'd ask. He's either a crappy singer who wrote some tolerable songs, or the "You" of the last half of the 20th Century."

Shakespeare nodded and continued reading. "I like this one:

If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow, and which will not,
Speak then to me...

It seems apt for our meeting." Shakespeare added.

"Hmm. That's odd. Did I write that?" I asked leaning over his shoulder. "Or did you?"

He perked up. "Can I use it?"

"Sure." I replied. And with that, as is consistent with the delicate nature of time travel, I popped back, with no fanfare, to the present. Perhaps there is some weird architect to the Universe and my job was done. It's hard to know. Either way, it goes to show that time travel either doesn't work, or it's too confusing to bear.

Did I somehow bring back to Shakespeare this very blog post to read?

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