It’s Difficult Convincing Time Travelers That the Present Day is Not a Dystopia.
BY David Henne
Time travelers from the past, don’t leave! The future isn’t in ruins; it’s just super crummy outside today.
If you’d shown up yesterday, which you didn’t because I wasn’t visited by time travelers yesterday, you would’ve thought the year 2011 was paradise. Seventy-five degrees and sunny—a record high for January.
If anything, I’d say the 21st century is getting more tropical and utopian. Can the weather can be dreary on occasion, crazy even? Yes. But this isn’t due to the rising ash from our daily book burnings or some airborne toxic event!
What’s that? Then where are our books?
Good question. For starters, I have approximately 200 novels on my desk. Take a gander; peruse the titles while I prepare you a full-course meal Hot Pocket… in mere minutes. No, the texts are right there, you’re literally hunching over them as we speak. No, now you’re stabbing them. Well naturally you can’t see the pages, because they’re electronic books. We don’t have book books anymore. Nobody reads print; it’s a dead medium.
Time travelers from the past!
Our lack of printed books isn’t evidence for our living in a dead culture. If anything, I’d say we’re living in the most alive culture to date—not to mention the most environmentally conscious culture. Sure, strangely enough, you have a time machine while we don’t, but when we do invent one you can bet ours will be more energy efficient than that steam-guzzling tank you’re hauling through the space/time continuum!
Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.
How about this, by using that computer situated where your time traveling friend is cagily pointing his dagger at me, I’ll tell you anything you need to know about the flourishing contemporary world. Go ahead, request information on a topic that you’d think doomed societies like this one wouldn’t have access to.
… Okay, interesting choice, but kind of a sensitive issue in this time. I mean, this computer is hooked up to a shared wireless network, you know? Give me something else.
… Ah, no. That’s, that’s terribly illegal. But let me again stress the fact that we’re one hundred percent free. I’m sure in your time there were a lot more restrictions keeping you from revolting or having full access to leaked government information for a limited time.
… Oh you did revolt? Well we do plenty of revolting too, on a manageable scale. Why last week I posted a pretty scandalous article about local politicians on my blog, and let me tell you—comments were shared.
Time travelers from the past, jeez!
That’s just my cell phone ringing; it’s not a doomsday alarm. Hold a sec… Yes. Yes they’re up here…. Yes, they’re time travelers from the past. Yes, I’ll hold.
All right, that was my landlord. He wants to have the police detain you until they can figure out who you are and why you’re here.
Relax. These policemen are not going to damage you or your time machine. We’re not living in squalor or oppression. If anything I’d say we’re safer than ever, and these are increasingly dangerous times. But God knows—well I’m an atheist so I should stop saying “God knows” and start saying “everybody knows”—this isn’t some totalitarian anti-paradise.
Well fine, call me a Godless fool and a coward. Go ahead, board your vessel and return to your primitive past. Take extra precaution to live more enriched lives so your future won’t look this “bleak.” Or, upon arriving home, destroy your time machine along with the technology vital to time travel so you never accidentally revisit this “crappy” potential world to come.
But before you go, time travelers, answer me this: If this is indeed a dystopia, why would we have these delicious Ring pops? Here, pass them around among yourselves.
Yeah, there you go. Now you’re sticking around. Look at you sucking on Ring Pops like you’re from the present.
Oh, time travelers from the past, you’re going to do just fine!
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