Dear Future Time Traveler,
I support your mission and understand your curiosity. But before you travel back in time, remember, it’s a trap. Please read this blog post carefully.
In 2013, Robert Nemiroff, an astrophysicist from Michigan Technological University, his colleague Teresa Wilson, and a few students decided to look for time travelers living amongst people of the early twenty-first century. How did they expect to net you, a real time traveler? Apparently, by using Twitter and Facebook.
The researchers decided there should be no online references to the Comet ISON or Pope Francis (There has never been another in the history of popes) before the year 2013. They combed through internet data in search of anything appearing a little too prophetic regarding these two topics. In September of 2013, the researchers also asked ‘time travelers’ to tweet the hashtag #Icanchangethepast2. But the time travelers were asked to tweet it the month before, in August.
In other words, imagine me today asking you to bring home a gallon of milk yesterday, then checking the fridge. See what they did there? Interesting methodology.
I’m not fully convinced, but I like the effort. If I traveled back in time, probably the last thing I would do is worry about creating a social media account. But it’s worth asking the question, “Is time fluid, like a river? Can you swim upstream, or down?”
What follows is a quick list, off the top of my head, to do before you travel backwards in time. This list is not exhaustive, and sort of tongue-in-cheek. But I feel if you do these things before you embark, you are way better off and likely won’t get caught up in some college student’s research paper.
1) Vaccinate against the time period’s viruses.
2) Disguise your future tech to make it time appropriate. You don’t want superstitious villagers to view your time machine and burn you at the stake for witchcraft.
3) Triple check to make sure your oven is off, or whatever future oven analog you use. You don’t want to spend your time in the past worrying about your home burning down in the future.
4) Attend time traveler school. This will give you all the etiquette and pointers to keep in mind on your journey, like how to avoid revealing you are a time traveler on the 21st century’s social media platforms.
5) Wear time-appropriate clothing. Never ever dress like anyone from Back to the Future II.
6) Learn the lingo. If you travel back to the 19th century, and begin talking about tweeting and kilobytes, you may get locked away. . . or even worse.
7) Kill your need to dominate the world. Yes, you could go back in time and give primitive people an abacus and a wrist watch. You will then be regarded as god-like to their descendants forever. But you would sadly know for all your days that you are just average like the rest of us and you cheated your way into worship and immortality.
8) Do not make out with your mother of the past. Ever. Period. No matter how hot she is.
9) Remember, if you go back in time and succeed in killing your grandfather before he procreated, he had his sperm frozen before you offed him.
10) Pack a toothbrush. The words ‘Dental Hygiene’ are a relatively new invention.
If I could add one more bonus point, it would be to make the mission your mission. Don’t travel back in time and open a social media account.
It probably won’t get you caught or locked up, but my god, it is going to suck major portions of time from your life.
Enjoy your stay in the past and send lots of postcards.
Jim, a Twenty-first century dweller transhumanist mutant