Photo: Carsey-Werner Distribution
Perhaps people don’t sit and daydream about time travel as much as I do, but it’s their loss. You see, if by some miracle those morons do find themselves catapulted through time, they are going to make so many easy mistakes for their lack of planning ahead. Not me, though. And since I’m such a nice dude, I’ll even share a few of the pitfalls you’ll most certainly encounter on the day you wake up in the future (or past). And hey, who better to take such advice from than an Internet comedy writer, right?
Money, Money, Money
Things are going to move quickly the second you reach whatever destination in time you’re going to, so the first thing on your mind needs to be the one cliché that’s most crucial: securing yourself financially for life. After all, this is the best case time travel scenario, no? Don’t muck things up with overly complicated get-rich-quick schemes that are more scheme than quick. Whether you’re in the past or future, figure out a point in your original time-line (pre-time travel) that had or will have a huge lottery payout. I’m talking that billion dollar one if possible. MEMORIZE those numbers (as in, don’t write them down or some other idiotic plan that never works out) and get back to where you came from immediately to plop down the buck or two that will increase astronomically in value. Then, figure out whether or not you can do the time-jump thing again. If you can’t, oh well. You’re freaking rich beyond your wildest dreams! Screw time travel!
The past, specifically, will be very difficult, and you’ll realize this immediately.
OK, I’ll admit that first bit of advice is a very Biff Tannen move, but what can I say? The dude had good ideas. He just executed them poorly. But with your money situation now out of the way, you can start focusing on your surroundings. Sadly, if you were unfortunate enough to travel back in time instead of forward, you are going to realize that the past sucks. No cell phones. No Ubers. No computers, quite possibly. We are spoiled in the present, so just know that whatever objectives you had in mind, particularly if they involve tracking down a person or place, it’s going to be a pain in the ass without GPS (and maybe even phone books). My best advice would be to mentally prepare now, just in case. It’ll be a huge shock to your system otherwise, making you stick out like a sore thumb.
Don’t let your past/future self see you.
Speaking of sticking out, it’s absolutely essential not to be spotted by your past or future self. But don’t worry, you’re allowed one mess-up since they always do a double take the first time, giving you ample opportunity to escape. Having said that, still take the situation seriously. You don’t want this past/future prick version of yourself trying to do the time traveling thing, too. That’s going to cause a bunch of paradoxes even I have no idea how to fix. My recommendation: if your past self sees you, hightail it back to the present immediately and pray he thought it was just a weird dream. If your future self sees you, kill them. Just remember where and when you did it so you can avoid yourself later. Boom. Crises averted.
People in the future all wear the same outfit.
Eventually, humans realize how stupid keeping up with fashion trends is and opt to all wear the same thing. I, for one, love the idea and wish we’d get to it now instead of later. Hell, cartoons have been doing it for years, and look how awesome they are. Regardless, it’s blending-in time. Since you already went ahead and secured yourself plenty of dough, go buy a silver jumpsuit or whatever the crap people are wearing these days and get on with lurking around unnoticed for as long as you can. Maybe even beat someone up and switch clothes with them if you aren’t able to buy them fast enough. That way, if somebody notices something off about you, you can just point out the dude you just robbed wearing your “bizarre old clothing” and sick the angry mob on them. Works every time.
Whether people are smarter or dumber, they’ll still be mesmerized by your current technology.
And not even good current technology, either. I’m talking the kind of crap you shove into your pockets and forget about. Lighters. Sticks of bubble gum. That sorta thing. These people are complete idiots regardless of where you are in the time stream. Old relics will blow them away. Future technology will fascinate them even more. So if you get into a pinch, whip out your iPod and throw it on the ground like April O’Neil did with her walkman in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. While everyone attacks it like the savage animals they are, slip away unnoticed. But trust me, it’s not even going to get to that point because of the next cliché.
No one (besides past/future you) will question who you are, even though you seemingly appeared out of thin air.
For the most part, if you have even the flimsiest backstory prepared for yourself and aren’t doing anything too crazy right off the bat, everyone is just going to be like, “Ooh, who’s the cool new person in town?” Because of all that crap I just mentioned in the previous cliché. It can’t necessarily be explained, but everybody swoons over someone from the future regardless of whether they know that’s where they are from or not. You’re going to be acting all mysterious like a badass loner due to the circumstances you find yourself in, and that’s going to turn people on to you rather than off. There’s a downside, though, which…is pretty gross.
Your mom/grandmother/daughter will always be the hottest, horniest chick in town.
That’s why you need to seek them out immediately. Don’t take that the wrong way, though. Absolutely DO NOT sleep with them. It doesn’t always work out like it did on Futurama. In fact, even in that instance it was still pretty absurd and disgusting. I’m just saying you need to find out who this person is so you don’t end up falling for them (or vice versa) like the cliché usually plays out. And if you’re a woman, I’m not exactly sure if it works the same way with dads, but I can’t imagine playing it safe would hurt. You might wanna come back and warn your dad he winds up being the hottest, horniest chick in town, though. Seems like something he’d want to know.
Go ahead and plan on ruining your bully’s entire life.
You know what, make that three people you should avoid at all costs. Well, unless you want to destroy a person’s entire existence, that is. No matter where you end up in the past or future, you are going to run into either your bully or a descendant of them that hates you equally, if not more. Be the bigger man and just walk away, regardless of whether they provoke you by calling you “chicken.” I realize that sounds like a wuss move, but know that if you take them on, it’s going to wind up the most critical moment of their life when you beat them. And by that, I mean for some stupid time travel-y reason, it won’t be just a fight they loose; it will impact their very social status and ability to become even remotely successful from that point forward. If that doesn’t bother you at least a little, I don’t think you’re the kind of person I want to be giving time traveling advice to.
You’ll recognize any family member (other than your mom) immediately because they look like you in a bad Halloween costume.
The good news is, they’ll be super easy to spot. And there’s no time law against tracking your pops/grandpops/son down and partying with them just to see what they were like when they were your age. Just make sure to use a fake name and brush any notion they have about why you two look so similar off as coincidence (or because you’re both drunk). It’s going to be much more unsettling for you hanging out with someone that looks like a face swap gone haywire anyways.
There is always a ticking clock regarding how long you can stay even though it’s freaking time travel!
In the end, this is the most important cliché of all the clichés touched upon. Hence, the reason for reviewing them. If you’re only going to have a limited time in the future/past, you’d damn well better make the most of it by getting all the important things previously mentioned out of the way tout de suite. I can’t tell you why there will be a time limit necessarily, but some butthole egghead is gonna be on your ass about getting back to the wormhole before some specific point or you’ll be stuck there forever. Um, news flash: I specifically traveled through time to get away from my shitty time period. I don’t care if I get stranded here. Besides, at least part of me still resides whenever I’m from. Let them figure it out if I eff this all up (which I obviously won’t). Oh crap, I’m starting to fade away. This can’t be goo…