Experiment #255

Dr. Dirigible’s Handy Time Travel Checklist

Before leaving for a jaunt through the Middle Ages or a stroll across the Moon Colony, be sure to double check these safety items.

  1. Inspect the time machine/chronometer. Look for any worn metal, excessive dirt, or aged joints. It may have stranded someone in the past and caught up the old-fashioned way.
  1. Check the fuel levels. If you get stuck in the Triassic, there won’t be a fuel source for the next 250 million years.
  1. Dress appropriately. While retro is in fashion these days, current clothing uses newer materials and brighter colors that will stand out anywhere besides the 1980s.
  1. Calibrate time coordinates yourself. Incorrect calibration by a few years could drop you into an endless stream of Elvis impersonators instead of the live action robot you intended to see.
  1. Synchronize your chronometer with those of your companions (particularly children) or you may get separated. No mother wants to spend her vacation wondering if her five-year-old survived the French Revolution.
  1. Remove all technology. If a person from the past received futuristic technology, he may change the timeline or attempt world domination. Let the Swiffer incident of 1762 and its years of chronal paradox cleanup be your cautionary tale.
  1. Heed Déjà vu. If it feels like you’ve seen something before you may be in a time loop. Try to avoid repeating the same events.
  1. Double check that your chronometer doesn’t have any additional features. While added features may seem like a bonus, it’s more likely a future chronometer lost in the past.
  1. Do not travel if you’re sick. A good way to wipe out the human race is taking bacterial super bugs into the past. See the “MRSA” epidemic of the early 2000s.
  1. Make sure your chrono coordinates are outside your lifespan. Paradoxes are unpleasant for you and the paperwork is just outrageous. Not even the Swiffer King can clean those up easily.
  1. Review your ancestor guides. While the Johannesburg Convention prohibited contact with your forebears, more than one time traveler has ignored the dangers and paperwork of paradoxes. Knowing your ancestors by sight can prevent you from kissing your great-grandmother and/or accidentally hitting your teenaged grandpa with an “automobile.” Neither of which will do your existence any favors.
  1. Triple check your return time. Missing your daughter’s formative years due to a clerical error will put you in the doghouse for life.
  1. Watch out for other explorers. The pivotal points in history will have the most sight seers and souvenir booths. Aim to leave the typical path. Explore countries and places that did nothing or had no lasting value, e.g. corporate headquarters of competitors of the Swiffer.
  1. Visit a time before time travel. Cause and effect gets, forgive the technical jargon, “super weird” when you have multiple time travelers traveling to a time from which other time travelers are coming. Paradoxes and paperwork.
  1. No gambling for the purposes of enriching yourself, a forebear, or anyone else. A squad of Chrono Swiffers hunting your younger self is as unpleasant as it sounds.
  1. Never remove your chronometer. They will return to your original time upon removal. Some speculate this warning is only a scare tactic; others who know won’t arrive for a few hundred years.
  1. Listen to Déjà vu. If you feel like you’ve done something before, it’s possible you’ve stumbled into a time loop. Try to avoid repeating the same events.
  1. Read this list again. It will update retroactively with any past events that change the timeline. All hail the Swiffer king.

Peer Review the Experiment

Tell the author how he did and how he could do better.
Be Honest. Be Specific. Be Constructive.