One Flu over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Immortality.  Everybody seems to crave it, whether through religion, science, mysticism or denial of death.  And so this begs a question about time travel. If I travel back in time one day and wake up yesterday morning at the same time I usually get up, and I have a chance to do my day all over again (see Murray, Bill; Day, Groundhog) and then I live through yesterday and in to today, throw on my white, time travel t-shirt (from last week’s blog) and jaunt back again, does that mean that the cells in my body, which have just aged 24 hours, will suddenly be 24 hours younger than they were when I put on the t-shirt?  Yes?

If that’s true, then can I repeat the process ad infinitum?  Can I make my body live indefinitely through time travel?  Back and forth, day in and day out, as it were.  I could certainly get a lot of writing done.

But maybe I should’ve asked whether I can do this ad nauseam?

Because … speaking of “nauseam” … my son started vomiting in the wee hours of the morning today, while we were in a hotel room, out of town. After his tummy finally settled down, the mess cleaned up, and he was snuggled under a comforter to stave off the chills, I told him something that seemed perfectly logical to me.

“I’ve never owned one million dollars in gold,” I said.

He looked at me sideways, probably wondering if his fever was making him delirious.

“Not many people have, Dad,” he said. His eyes looked drawn, dark bags, the glassy gaze of the sick.

“I’d like to.”

“Get in line, Dad.  Get in line.”

He sighed, rolled over, and slept another two hours before we hit the road and headed home.

During that two-hour drive from Birmingham to Huntsville my son lamented our not owning a helicopter or private jet.  And like any parent on a superhighway going 70 mph, I began to daydream about such possibilities myself.

If I travelled back in time 24 hours could I prevent him from getting sick?  Most likely not, since I have no idea how he came down with this virus in the first place.  But I could find a way to scrounge up a dollar.  And if I did this 24-hour t-shirt time hop one million times (even it was plain cash and not shiny gold) could I have made us millionaires while not aging a day in the process?

  • Million bucks?
  • Lear Jet?
  • T-shirt time machine?
  • No laugh lines?

There are worse ways to spend a Sunday.

But would that be worth it?  If I did that one million times, my son would suffer fever, chills and nausea one million times. And what sort of father would that make me?

In Groundhog Day Bill Murray’s character broke the cycle by realizing something greater than him.  Perhaps another way to grow is to never start the start the cycle in the first place.

And if you’re creating a character, critiquing a character, or just enjoying a movie with a big bowl of popcorn, try to put yourself in the character’s shoes.  That’s why good stories work, in my humble opinion.

Now, if your head’s hurting you may be trying to figure out what the hell I’m talking about today.  And, frankly, I wonder the same thing, especially since this is my first blog entry since winning a Freshly Pressed Award, and I’m a tad worried about disappointing you.  Or maybe your head’s hurting because you’re coming down with a touch of flu.  If the latter, I hope someone takes care of you, just this once.

Until next time,

Peace, from

Keith

Copyright © 2012, Alan Keith Parker.  All Rights Reserved.  I wrote this blog entry on my cell phone, which is like typing on a postage stamp.  Out of respect  for my pending carpel tunnel syndrome please don’t steal this!

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6 thoughts on “One Flu over the Cuckoo’s Nest

  1. David Appenzellar

    I really liked reading your blog today and went back and read your last post. What I like is that it makes me think and takes me back to another time. And I have loved the classics like the Great Gatsby to the historical romance novels. Even a drive through the Twickingham district seems to take me back in time when those houses where built. And although I can see you in a million days having your gold I wonder if only you are caught in time travel and you never age your family does. So will the day come Harrison isn’t sick in the hotel and he makes it home , graduates high school and college and tells his friends as they visit and see you there in your white t-shirt and says to them “there he goes” and explains it’s a family thing.

    1. I’m sincerely flattered by your comment here. I keep thinking about “There He Goes” and I’m really glad it’s made an impression. I went through about 5 drafts of follow-on blog entries before simply typing this out as a stream-of-consciousness.
      Time travel is not the only theme I enjoy in science fiction and fantasy, but it is one that dovetails with my passion for history.
      Like you I drive through Twickenham and wonder, “What happened back then?” and also, “What if?”
      The latter is indicative of the power this type of literature yields, especially when combined with three-dimensional characters.
      Thank you for reading it and commenting. Very much appreciated!

      1. David Appenzellar

        I was more than glad to read and leave my comment. I have family in Elmira, NY which is a town Mark Twain lived and his wife was from there. His summer home has been preserved and reserved for visiting scholars at Elmira College and the gazebo he wrote Huck Finn has been moved and on display at the college campus. While on Google and searching about his home I came across an article written by a scholar that was lucky enough to have spent a week at the house and his experience there. He wrote of a kindred spirit feeling standing out on the hill top where the gazebo once stood and could almost smell the smoke from a cigar. I searched out the authors name and an email address and wrote to tell him how much I liked his article and how I too get a deep feeling around places and the people that once was there. Went quite awhile until I heard a response back. He was a guest professor at auniversity in Japan and recently returned and was catching up on his emails from his college account and came across my email. He thanked me for writing and surprised as the article was several years old.
        And your grandfather’s saying reminds me that when my mom was 17 and newly married her and dad lived at a fishing camp called Pat and Mick’s in Brunswick, GA. Just small one room cabins that mainly were rented out on the weekend’s to fishermen. There were a few other couples that lived there too. My mom was the youngest of 5 girls raised way back in the sticks in TN. She didn’t get a chance to be around anyone other than family. So at the fishing camp she enjoyed sitting around during the day with the other ladies. Mom said her reply at first was always ” I know ” and just her natural way of being polite. A few weeks went by and one lady asked how she knew about something that was said like she had somekind of inside knowledge. Mom told her just in chatting she was being pleasant by her comment and no thing more. She said the other lady didn’t believe her but Mom never used that phrase again. The old days were filled with innocent comments that made others wonder. I love stories that keep them alive and is a tribute to their life and they live on through us.

        And really glad your son is doing better. Nothing worse for a kid to be sick away from home and having a 2 hour drive home. I know as back in middle school my family and I went to Opryland for the day and on the way home I most have passed a kidney stone. The longest most painful 2 hours in a car but once we were back in town the hurting was gone but totally exhausted and went straight to bed. At left least Harrison just has a virus or cold.

  2. I believe you may have just come upon two places which are similar to each other built out onto water to moor boats, regarding whether in time travel to the previous day your cells age or become younger. Would time pass while you were going into the past, and if so, would you experience it and would it be measurable?

    Mirkin Firkin

    ps I hope your son’s better and no one else in the family was afflicted by his contagion.

    mf

    1. Great minds think alike! It dawned on me right after I’d posted that I could age while traveling backward. I even thought about editing the main blog, but I think that’s one of the fun things about science fiction in general, and time travel in particular, that you get all these questions embedded within questions, like those layered Russian dolls.

      Thanks for thinking of my son; he’s still sick but doing better (kids rebound quickly). It appears the fever caused the nausea, and it was not a stomach bug (which would’ve been incredibly miserable).

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