Time for a ride in the ‘way-back’ machine

The last word about dads on Father's Day

Recently scientist and inventor Dean Kamen, creator of the
mind-controlled prosthetic robot arm and the more-familiar Segway
Transportation System, was interviewed on a cable news program
about the technologies he couldn’t live without. Interestingly, his
first choice was an item that hasn’t even been invented yet.
Recently scientist and inventor Dean Kamen, creator of the mind-controlled prosthetic robot arm and the more-familiar Segway Transportation System, was interviewed on a cable news program about the technologies he couldn’t live without. Interestingly, his first choice was an item that hasn’t even been invented yet.

Kamen wants a time machine. “Life is short,” he reminds us. “… I’d like to be able to travel at near instantaneous speed to get from one place to another.”

You’ve read that right, friends. Yes, a brilliant guy like Kamen wants an apparatus peculiar to science-fiction novels and – who knows – perhaps such a mechanism actually lurks out there somewhere on the horizon.

Now this is intriguing. If a time machine allowed us to travel at “near instantaneous speed,” perhaps it would let us do other things … such as living the past all over again. Haven’t you wished that at least once? Oh, come on – of course you have! How about all those times when you’ve thought, “Dang! If only I’d …” after it’s too late?

This would be your chance to set right the old wrongs and injustices; those times when somebody gave you major attitude and you were too stunned to come up with a good retort. With a time machine, you’d certainly come up with something snappier than spluttering pathetically all over yourself and shooting back

with the ultra clever, “Gahhaaeuhkjp nmmmph!” Oh, yeah! That really cut your tormenters off at the knees.

Or consider this: what if you could have a “do-over” of those crappy high school years when you were such a dweeb? This would be your ticket to being cool, friends. Being “with it.” I mean, guys: if you had it to do all over again, wouldn’t you abort that old buzz haircut that still haunts you from the pages of your yearbook and instead sport one of those smooth hairstyles that all the girls can’t wait to run their fingers through? Or, girls: do-overs would mean you’d have cute shoes to match every outfit in your closet. Am I right? Yeah. You’d be a rock star.

And how about the really rotten times such as your entire freshmen and sophomore years? Those tragic days when the world was spinning out of control. With a time machine, you could re-write history.

For example: How about when your One True Love showed up at the prom with your BFF Marsha even when everyone agreed to go “stag” to the prom and there she was dancing with YOUR guy and to make matters worse the little @**$& was wearing your best bracelet on her skinny arm and she had simply BEGGED to borrow it so she could wear it to CHURCH for Pete’s sake and then they left the prom together and you never found out exactly what happened because it was WAY too mortifying to go back to school for three whole days and you were so violently ill over the whole thing and by the time you did go back to school everybody was STILL talking about it. Huh? Wouldn’t you love a chance to go back and fix that? No, me neither.

And let’s say you decide (wisely, no doubt) to bypass high school and continue on back to when you were a little tyke. Now those were some fun times! Playing kick-the-can with your pals, putting on plays in the park, running through the sprinklers on a hot summer day, riding your bike until the street lights came on. Could a time machine take you back to that fun-in-the-sun childhood you left behind?

Sure, that would be great, but here’s my problem: I am SO not a mechanical genius. And it goes without saying that a time-traveler would have to know how to operate that machine without a flaw. No approximations when it comes to the time where you are traveling, right? For instance, when I was little, my grandpa would lift me up on his lap where he would read to me. I’d ask him meaningful questions such as why did he have skin like a turkey on his neck? Now Grandpa thought this was cute when I was three. Not so cute if I was, say, 12 or 14. So if I chose to go back in time and sit on Grandpa’s lap, I would have to hit that old time-travel nail square on the head.

But the A-number-one most important thing about a time machine would be getting back to the present where you belong. Except what if you hit the wrong button and you wound up a newborn baby? Sure, back to the womb would be interesting, although then what? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would want to relive ALL those years again. Seriously. Would you?

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