Dooley came down off the mountain the other day with a very smug look on his face. He has one of those faces that doesn’t hide “smug” very well. From the look of it you’d think he had just saved the earth from imminent destruction. Since he was coming from the direction of “Area 51” (just over the east mountain is an area I have nicknamed Area 51 because on more than one occasion Dooley has asked me not to go up there) I assumed he had been working on his time machine project.
Oh, yes, although I have never seen it, Dooley claims to have built a time machine from parts he has “borrowed” from the oil guys across the valley. His big break-thru, according to my sources, came early this spring when an electrical transformer blew out nearby and he was able to salvage the copper windings inside. About the same time, he used my laptop to enroll in an online quantum physics class from some diploma factory in Arizona. I suspect the money to pay for the class came from my Sealy Posturepedic. I don’t mind. It’s good he wants to improve himself and every dog should have a hobby.
He hasn’t told me much at all about the project. He probably thinks I would tease him about it. (I was pretty hard on him a couple of years ago when he was convinced that, with enough rubber bands, he could launch a foil wrapped rabbit into low earth orbit.) He has, however, left his time travel project notes conspicuously lying around the cabin.
As silly as the notion of time travel seems to me, a glance at Dooley’s notes indicates he has already performed a successful time travel experiment using the youngest of the McCroskey dogs as a subject. According to the notes, the dog was sent back two minutes in time. Because the time machine takes two minutes to warm up and because the dog was told to stay perfectly still while inside, there was no visual indication of success. Dooley’s “proof” of actual time travel was predicated on his subject’s subsequent report of a nagging feeling of always being “late”.
I would love to know more about his thoughts of the paradigms and paradoxes of time travel. There has been so much written by science fiction folk about the dangers of traveling back in time and changing things. I can only hope he is taking a responsible approach to his research. Not so much because I believe time travel is possible but a sense of responsibility is important in all things we do.
My sources also tell me that his current version of the machine only works one way. If you use it to go back in time, you are stuck wherever you land. Being something of a history buff the thought of witnessing pivotal historical events is intriguing but the idea of living in 1860’s America after experiencing the battle of Gettysburg does not have much appeal. Off- hand I can’t really think of a practical application for a one way time machine. Assuming I would remain the same age as I traveled back there wouldn’t be much time left to enjoy my wealth if I were, for example, to buy Microsoft, Google, or other high yield tech stocks when first offered. Even in my remaining years would wealth improve or diminish my quality of life? How can one predict such things? Perhaps, on my death bed I could travel back to leave notes for my younger self but who’s to say I could steer a young Roger down a better or more fulfilling path than the one I’ve already traveled. I think the fun in life is in the mystery of what tomorrow might bring. As long as you have the where-with-all to make choices, no matter what path one takes, there is always the chance that something especially wonderful is just around the next bend.
Now, if Dooley could perfect a two-way time machine, I can think of all kinds of fun to have with that!
By the way, the chimney is fixed and billowing as I write. The new smoke detector, however, is still having trouble coming to terms with my Swisher Sweet Outlaw Double Barrel Rum Cigars. Also, I am sorry I have no pictures to post but Area 51 is a no photo zone.