My Relationship With The Long Coastal Road To The Border Of Time’s Ocean
An April Fool's parody of the writing style of Carl Peterson
by Doug Miller
April 2003

Along with everyone who has ever met, or even seen, me, I have always considered myself a rather geekish type. What other people consider obscure and boring, I consider a topic worth exploring to its fullest. I recently started packing for a family vacation in the summer of 2009 because, as you all know, that’s the most exciting part of the vacation experience. While I was excitedly demonstrating the mathematical proof of the best way to fit my collection of National Geographics into a suitcase partially filled with a hair dryer and a solar oven, my lovely wife said it was unfortunate that I couldn’t figure out a way to travel back in time so I could enjoy packing twice for each vacation. What a great idea! I immediately started reciting all I knew about time travel and hypothesizing possible implementations. Three hours later I noticed that my lovely wife had left the room while I was making diagrams on the blinds with a dry erase marker.

First, I identified the major components that make up these wonderful creations that we call “ourselves.” I believe each person is comprised of four parts, the “needs”, the “wants”, the “expectation” (or “ooh that looks cool”), and the “moment.” These names are mostly self-explanatory. Needing to go to the bathroom is a quite different, and sometimes more satisfying, experience than wanting to go to the bathroom. Especially when unpredictable laxatives are involved. Sometimes, such as when you’re at the bus terminal in Detroit or maybe at Kenny Rogers’s house, it looks like it would be cool to go to the bathroom even if you don’t exactly need or want to. The “moment” is actually separate from, yet a combination of, the first three. Our “lives” are actually a collection of “moments.” But I think we can all agree that when the needs, wants, and expectations all collapse into that actual moment of going to the bathroom, life is indeed good.

Being a somewhat geekish, or scholarly, type. I spent part of last summer’s vacation (which I packed for in the fall of 1999 – a rush job) conducting experiments on my hypothesis and gathering empirical data. Einstein had his little “thought experiments” whereas I was going to have a scale model replica of the Kon Tiki, a rowboat made of papyrus that would look somewhat similar to what Thor Hyerdahl and his team of scientists used for the Ra Expedition. At least, that’s what my “wants” and “expectations” were. A somewhat terse discussion with my lovely wife about my “need” for a scale model replica of the Kon Tiki resulted in the used canoe I actually got to rent.

If you think of our lives as a journey across a lake on a used rental canoe you will begin to understand the merits of packing early. At each moment, the boat occupies a physical position on the lake and the path we take along, or in some cases under, the surface combine to form our lives. As the waves push the boat we may find ourselves paddling back across a portion of the lake we have already crossed, resulting in that strange sensation known as déjà vu. The waves may also capsize the cheap, unstable, rental canoe, causing a condition known as SCUBA doo, the strange sensation that occurs in near-drowning victims where they plan elaborate schemes to trick their lovely wife into revealing that she’s the one who has been dressing up as a ghost and spreading the rumors that the garage is haunted, keeping you from creating a scale model replica of the Kon Tiki, and causing sales at the canoe rental facility (which she has recently invested in) to skyrocket. Your expectations swelling like the waves that capsized the canoe, you imagine pulling off her ridiculous ghost mask to hear her lament that she would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for those meddling teenagers, making you wonder what the kids have to do with any of this as they’ve been glued to the Nintendo since you arrived at the lake.

So as you prepare to turn the page and travel to a future which (I’m sure you’re hoping) will be filled with far more informative and entertaining articles on time travel, take some time to savor the moment, especially if you’re reading this in the bathroom. That’s where I usually go to escape the needs, wants, and expectations of my lovely wife and find the solitude required to read the newsletter and absentmindedly munch some Doritos. Which I think we can all agree proves once and for all that I am, have been, and will continue to be a rather geekish type.

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