Time travel: How to turn November into July in three hours

By Jeff Petersen, The Observer November 16, 2012 01:04 pm

There’s nothing like a fire in the woodstove to turn back the calendar. In a few hours Monday, I turned my living room from November to July. Thunderheads began building up above the reading lamp.

Not feeling particularly ambitious, I had put off the first wood fire of the season as long as I could. But as I huddled in my parka watching the National Football League game from Pittsburgh, I figured I did not have to simulate watching the game in the cold drizzle at Heinz “Ketchup” Field. I could watch the Steelers-Chiefs game from anywhere I wanted. 

As sleet fell outside, and played a drumbeat on the window, I began to think watching the game from a simulated Phoenix sounded nice.

If you’re like me, you’re fascinated with time travel. And not just traveling a few months. I’d like to travel back in time to the early 1950s and ask one of the best professional golfers of all time, Ben Hogan, if he regretted never shooting a hole in one.

I’d like to go back to 1995 and ask President Bill Clinton if he really thought it would be a wise idea to say, “The era of big government is over.”

I’d go back to the early 2000s and ask Mike Ovitz, who got a separation package from Disney that would have taken a person on minimum wage 6,700 years to earn, and see if I could be adopted.

I’d go back to 1963 and ask Andy Warhol if, on second thought, he believed his eight-hour movie “Sleep” should have been more geared toward the average 50-plus year old’s 90 minutes — or about the length of the average movie.

‘Burning Log’ show

I’d visit the creators of the “Burning Log” show on Victoria, B.C., public access TV and ask them what’s next? “Haircuts.” 

I’d travel back to 1860 and ask P.T. Barnum if, considering the growth of the world population, 150 years in the future there would be a sucker born every second, not just every minute.

I’d travel back to 1970 and tell Canadian singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell that a lot more paradise has been paved and parking lots are still expanding. I’d also tell her the “Big Yellow Taxi” song did a lot of good in stemming the development tide — or at least propelled developers to think twice before paving corn fields.

At age 55, I’d also like to visit my 25, 35 and 45 year old self.

I’d tell my 25-year-old self, “Don’t worry about still being single. You’ll find a worthy life partner when the time is right.”

I’d tell my 35-year-old self, “Enjoy the good times and that novel concept, ‘Dispensable income.’ But material possessions aren’t the end all.”

I’d tell my 45-year-old self, “Be careful with 30-year lifestyle problems. The body is tremendously resilient, but it does have its limits.”

If I could time travel back just two nights, I’d tell my 55-year-old not to sit there and shiver but to enjoy the moment. Light a fire. In your woodstove and under yourself. You never know how many you will get, so make the most of the year you’re in, and stay warm.