[Originally published February 7, 2012.]
For nearly 200 years, the United States Bureau of Chronology has worked tirelessly to ensure the proper linear continuum of all things taking place. That is to say, when things occur, it is our job to make sure they do so in the correct chronological sequence.
Which is why we must now regret to inform you of a future time-related mix-up, taking place earlier next Thursday shortly before what preceded it.
You see, this is exactly the kind of thing we are talking about.
How this embarrassing aberration came about we cannot say for sure. One minute, things were happening in an orderly fashion, and the next minute… well, the next minute came first is the problem.
Please remain calm. We are, or have been, or will eventually be doing everything in our power to resolve this crisis of chronology.
For instance, our agents will be dispatched into the field to monitor the matter firsthand, just as soon as they return from the field, to which they have already been deployed.
Rest assured, we have the best and brightest minds working around the clock—and due to the sudden jumps in time—across the clock.
However, until we determine what exactly went wrong, we are advising all U.S. citizens to remain indoors, stock up on canned goods, and if at all possible refrain from taking part in any activity with a distinct beginning, middle, and end.
We recommend watching the films of Federico Fellini. Or the sport of soccer.
Also, please be advised that due to this unexpected deviation in time, some everyday experiences may now proceed in a manner you may find alarming. Such as drinking a glass of water, which may now start empty, and then slowly fill itself with each regurgitated gulp from your mouth. Or the act of finding your soul mate, which may now begin with eight months of messy divorce proceedings.
Also before they even start, could now end abruptly, the reading of sentences.
Incidentally, do not phone the U.S. Bureau of Chronology and leave panicked voice messages regarding the disastrous plot to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand, the debut of Cop Rock on ABC, or any recent encounters with a large Ankylosaurus grazing in your backyard.
We are aware of such phenomena and are trying to address each as best we can. Unfortunately, until some of us recover from a sudden onset of toddlerhood, and become interested in things other than choo-choo trains, there is little we may be able to do.
We know that time is running out. Unfortunately, it now appears that time is also running in.
This has been an important message from the U.S. Bureau of Chronology. We will eventually thank you for your patience.
Incidentally—gesundheit. You’ll understand why in five hours.