I Wish I Read More
Literature and media provide us with a rich diversity of time travel stories. Of course, physics explains that time travel formulas require a substantial amount of energy. Plus, the predicted result wouldn’t fall in line with popular plots. At best, our bodies would be frozen in a single moment without the ability to feel or interact. At worst, our bodies would be disintegrated.
Placing physics aside, it would be amazing to see dinosaurs and meet famous people. Teddy Roosevelt, Tesla, Columbus, Einstein, Creaser, and Pocahontas. How about having a beer with George Washington?
From my own life, I would like to meet my young grandparents. Recently, I became aware that my grandfather had been a badass OSS agent. What adventures did he have? Our family has a minor mystery. My great Grandfather got dementia and took out a large loan with his company as collateral. Where did the money go? He couldn’t remember and the company folded.
Growing up, I made many mistakes, and I have wondered what it would be like to go back in time and correct those mistakes. For example, I didn’t regularly brush my teeth until the age of 10. Of course, by that age, I had a mouth full of fillings. However, there is a problem with this scenario. Let’s pretend 50-year-old Bill meets 6-year-old Bill. “Brush your teeth!” “No way. Old man!” I remember 6-year-old Bill. He’s a kid in the 1970s who did his own thing and wouldn’t listen to anybody. I see the same behavior in my daughter when I try to get her to brush her teeth. That’s the problem with lofty ideas about changing the past. What happened, did so for a reason and simply desiring to make a change is not as easy as it might sound.
In the ’70s, my mother took us to the library, and I selected the typical books like the Hardy Boys. Unfortunately, I didn’t read beyond boy’s fiction and reading didn’t occupy much of my life. Part of the problem stems from the poor selection of 1970’s books. Another issue involved the tedious task of returning them.
An underlying time travel goal has been to ask my younger self to read more. Why? I feel it would have made me a better person and improved my English skills. Plus, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time watching the 70’s television.
Let’s explore this concept. Old Bill convinces young Bill to read more. The result would be a more educated adult Bill with better English skills. Now, hold on. Part of childhood is wasting time doing kid things. Riding bikes, talking to friends, watching useless TV, sleeping in and annoying parents. This change would alter the balance between reading and doing kid activities. As a result, present Bill’s social skills would be less evolved. Would this tradeoff have made me a better person? I cling to the belief that it would and yet my heart disagrees.
Childhood is difficult, and the playground taught us more lessons than in the classroom. How does a boy deal with the bully? How does that boy become the bully? How does a shy boy ask a pretty confident girl out on a date?
Let’s do another time travel experiment. Young Bill’s family is transported to the present time. Life has changed since the ’70s. We have more books and they are easy to obtain. The playground is understood and more forgiving. Yet, cell phones, the internet, and modern pressures have made modern children social introverts. There is certainly more to read, and it’s easy to download books. Now, kids get their “social” over their cell phones. Would future 50-year-old Bill wants present 6-year-old Bill to read more?
I suspect future 50-year-old Bill’s social skills would be reduced, he would read more and he would have a better education. Our modern age no longer requires social skills. Is that a sad reality or an improvement? The present Bill needs to read about this topic and decide in private.
You’re the best -Bill
November 20, 2019
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