© 2017 Bill Murphy
This was the subject/topic of a writing assignment for my Little Egypt Writer’s Society.
That’s easy for me. I choose any time from early 1944 thru the end of August of 1947. Why those dates? Because I’d be old enough to appreciate what was going on in early ’44. And August of 47 was my last month as a pre-schooler. I realize that times were hellish in the Pacific and in Europe, but for me, on the blissful safety of Evergreen Street in South Jackson, those were wonderful times!
At first I considered that June 10, 1960 would be a good date in which to return. It would give me the opportunity to say “I don’t” instead of “I do.” That first marriage should not have happened anyway. Or should it?
You see, our relationships with others, no matter how subtle of insignificant, how good or how bad, how fleeting or lengthy, are quite meaningful in the grand scheme of things. And, even if we could, we really don’t want to change the past. We’d mess up the world if we did. Changing history would throw EVERYTHING off – off for good in some cases, off for bad in others.
Imaging this – Monday morning and you’re rushing off to work, and discover that you’ve misplaced your car keys. That 3 minute search throws you even later, so you drive just a tad faster that unusual. Across town, a woman is also late, due to a slow driver ahead. She cuts onto an unfamiliar side street, doesn’t notice a stop sign, and barrels through – right in front of you. It’s her fault, yet still she’s killed in the crash. Now she’ll not produce the child, who would someday become a research scientist, who would make that long sought breakthrough which eradicates cancer forever.
So instead, 30 years from the date you misplaced your car keys, we would still have cancer killing folks who would not have died if you hadn’t misplaced your car keys! Chilling thought!
But, you’re saying, if I could go back and avoid that accident – it would be a huge benefit to mankind! Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps the other child this woman was not to have – would have been instrumental in starting WWIII!
If I had said, “I don’t” and walked away in 1960, I would have had 10 YEARS of some other life, giving me ample opportunity to miss meeting Helen Carol Ringer and saying, “I do” to her in 1970.
So you see, that street in June 1960 eventually crossed the one in May of 1970.
That said, I’d still enjoy returning to 1944-47 – but NOT ‘knowing what I know now.’ I wouldn’t want to return as a ‘visitor.’ No. I’d want to return and live it all over again as if I were living it for the first time, blissfully unaware of what was to happen next. If I did know then what I know now, I’d probably mess things up royally for the years ahead, both for me, and maybe for you also!
I certainly don’t want to mess up the world.