If you’re one of the four people on planet Earth who hasn’t seen Avengers End Game by this point, avert your eyes.
The movie, which has made all of the money, focuses on time travel.
“Oh no, this is going to be a really nerdy column,” you may say.
You’d be right.
H.G. Wells invented time travel in 1897 to stop Jack the Ripper. Wait, maybe that was the plot of a movie? It seems too bizarre not to be real.
Anyway, whether it’s being used to bring whales back from the past, send a robot to assassinate the mother of a revolutionary or even to make sure one’s parents fall in love, time travel is a popular trope.
It also brings up one of the three most asked hypothetical questions — what would you do if you could travel back in time?
The other two are of course, “if a genie gave you three wishes, what would you wish for?” and “which Avenger would you rather date, Captain America or Thor?”
The most common answer to the time travel question is, “I’d go back in time and kill Hitler.”
Removing Hitler from history is a tricky thing. I mean, do you murder Hitler when he’s a baby? That seems unnecessarily horrific. Or do you wait until he’s a teenager?
Look, anyone who’s ever lived with teenagers has been tempted at one time or another to send them to their eternal rewards. However, what stays our hand is the knowledge that eventually they’ll become good people, move out of the house and take their awful music with them.
Basically, you’d have to track Hitler down somewhere between writing “Mien Kampf” and the annexation of Austria.
However, doing so would prevent World War II. Would we ever have invented nuclear power, jet engines or chicken McNuggets without the war? What if you murder Hitler, come back to the present and realize that McDonald’s doesn’t even exist anymore? What then?
Plus, if Hitler never became Hitler, what would we say about people we disagree with on Twitter?
“You don’t like Marvel movies? You’re worse than Joseph Stalin,” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
The other popular answer people give is that they would go back in time and invest in Amazon, Apple or the New England Patriots, which seems like a really lame use for a time machine. I mean you have the power to reshape history and you use it for making money? That’s lame. When it came time to license the movie rights to your life’s story, no studio would buy it.
“This is the story of the first man who traveled backwards in time,” says Sony Pitchman.
“Oh, interesting. What did he do with that amazing power?”
“Made money off of Halliburton.”
If someone dropped me off at a time travel cave, I’d do something that has personal stakes and would make the world better for humanity. I’ve given this a lot of thought.
I would go back to summer of 1991 and buy every single Hostess Turtle Pie and bring them to the present.
There is nothing like a Turtle Pie.
When I can’t sleep at night, it’s because the memory of this “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle II: Secret of the Ooze” tie-in’s unique blend of vanilla pudding, pastry and green sugar shell is taunting me. I remember what it’s like, but I can never experience it again. Some days, it’s all I want to eat, but I can’t. They only exist in the summer of 1991.
Oh, here are my answers to the other two questions —
• First, lots of Hostess Turtle Pies; second a time machine; and third Halliburton.
• If I have to chose, I’m on team Captain America.
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