Tuesday, November 18, 2008


hen a team of distinguished scientists approached me about time traveling to the year 1682, I was like, “I need to know what I’ll be getting paid first.” Then they said that there would be a small remuneration, and I thought that remuneration meant fortune, so I was like, “Sign me up!” And they did.

Of course, I didn’t take time to chew on the risks associated with time travel. It was difficult explaining to my six-year-old son that I might not make it back alive. I used his army guys to help make sense of things, but then he was scared and crying and thought I was going to war, so I just lied and said that I was going to the hardware store. My wife was especially concerned about whole particle-disassembly thing, something I hadn’t thought of when I signed my rights away.

“Please tell me nothing will happen to your hunkadelic glutes,” I recall her saying.

It was a legitimate concern. I am an astonishing physical specimen and everyone knows it. Sometimes I look in the mirror, lose track of time, and end up missing a day of work. Maybe that’s why they recruited me to time travel, since I’m always losing track of time.

In the time-travel lab they asked me to take off all of my clothes before transporting, because it minimized the chance that my pants would graft to my legs in the chaos of particle reassembly. But I was like, “Only my wife and primary physician can see me like that,” and they were like, “Suit yourself,” and then they pulled the lever, hurling me through the flashing tunnel of floating cuckoo clocks known as Time.

It felt a little bit like riding a roller coaster, that is, if roller coasters poked you with needles and torched you like a soufflé. It’s like if Six Flags were built in an enormous oven that housed rabid porcupines. Also like Six Flags, bottled water costs four dollars.

My particles reassembled in Honey Rock, Virginia. The first guy I met, and pretty much everyone else, thought that I was the returning Messiah. Naturally, I told them that I was, and they held a big celebration in my honor. They shot an Indian and we had a sprawling feast of roasted Chippewa, eagle eggs, and leaves. I asked them if they knew how many calories were in a serving of Indian, but they were too busy praying and flagellating themselves in my presence to respond. Things got a little weird when they asked me to impregnate their virgin daughters, so I cleared the air and explained that I was simply a divine messenger, not Jesus. They were still fixed on the whole divinity thing, though, and they brought me some sick people with yellow skin to heal, a lot like the characters on that modern-day cartoon, The Family with Yellow Skin. I gave the sick the same advice my father gave me: Walk it off. They tried, but threw up all over their shoe buckles.

Mornings in 1682 are not fun. Everyone wakes up at four and does horrible things, like flagellating themselves in my presence. The men were very eager to show me how good they were at chopping down trees. I admit, they were pretty good, but I told them they could be more effective if they used chainsaws. They stared at me vacantly, like the stupid colonial idiots they are. The men were also very eager to learn secrets of the future, but I explained that I wasn’t allowed to tell them anything. I told them about the Great Depression, though, so that they could start storing away food.

A good thing about the colonial times is that no one has heard any good jokes, so you can tell them anything and they believe you made it up.

A good thing about the colonial times is that no one has heard any good jokes, so you can tell them anything and they believe you made it up. I told one guy the joke about the chicken who crossed the road, and he laughed and laughed and laughed, so much that he suffered cardiac arrest. Graciously, lives are expendable in 1682, so his children barely missed him. Every night at six o’clock there is a mass funeral held in town square that is usually attended by eight to ten people. I imagine more would show up, but most of the town goes to sleep after dinner, at three. I am staying with a nice family named the Jameses or Henrys, or something. My bed isn’t really a bed, but three Indians tethered together with socks in their mouths. It’s comfortable, I suppose, but sometimes they breathe at different cadences, which isn’t good for my back.

The next morning I decided to follow around the womenfolk. They’re startlingly catty, and often make snide remarks about each other’s frocks. One lady, Prudence Manychildren, is reputed to have looked at an Indian on a Sunday. That trollop! Most of the women, when not having children, sit around town square knitting and persuading each other that they’re not fat. My, how times have changed. It is when I am with these miserable hags that I realize how wonderful my wife is. I miss her sexy hair, her mega-sexy voice, but mostly the ultimo-sexy fact that she’s not pregnant. That night on my ternion of Indians, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was thinking about me, too.

By day three, they no longer believed that I was a divine being. The women pretty much ignored me, and I think the men were building enormous gallows for me.

By day three, they no longer believed that I was a divine being. The women pretty much ignored me, and I think the men were building enormous gallows for me. I can’t be sure what gave me away, but it might have been when I cussed at a squirrel for failing to yield at an intersection. I decide to spend the day with the children, who are as dumb and misguided as my own. The only difference, really, is that they pray for five hours a day. And their games are pretty bizarre, like, “Use the Indian Grandmother as a Trampoline,” and “Stuff the Indian’s Mouth with Dried Corn and Hold Him Over the Fire to Make Jiffy Pop.” Still, they really are lovable, and I’m sure they will grow up to be excellent woodchoppers or baby-havers.

Before that night’s mass funeral, several men approached me with muskets and pitchforks. They punched me in the stomach and put a hot coal in my mouth, which really hurt. They said things like, “You are a false prophet!” and, “You are going to die today!” I didn’t have my pocket dictionary with me, but I understood that prophet meant “person from 17th century.” So, in that regard, they were correct. I didn’t want to die though, so I started running away in hopes that my New Balances could beat out their clunky wooden shoes. They threw an Indian skull at me, though, and that knocked me unconscious. I woke up with my hands tied together and an old priest doing spells on me. Or maybe he was just delivering the last rites, I don’t know. Then they put my head in the noose and asked if I had any last words. I said that I did, and they held a microphone made out of a hollowed-out owl in front of my lips. I asked them why their town was called Honey Rock. They said it is because there was a beehive above a big rock next to the courthouse. Then I said, “Sayonara suckers!” and activated the particle-disassembly device, thus catapulting me to the present day. Why I didn’t use it when they were pointing muskets at me, I don’t know. I might’ve been holding out for that night’s Indian feast. It doesn’t matter now, as I am back with my family in whichever year it is currently. I kiss my wife and let her know that I won’t ignore her so much any more, unless she is pregnant. I teach my son how to make Jiffy Pop, and we share some laughs. I tell my previously unmentioned daughter that despite evidence to the contrary, she is worth talking about. Then I lie down on my bed and thank God that it doesn’t accidentally use the bathroom on me in the middle of the night.

Steve is a student in Indiana, though he would like to be a not-student in not-Indiana. You can find more of his stuff at CollegeHumor.com and McSweeneys.net.

Proposed Warning Label for Christian Rock Albums Parental Advisory: Contains Uplifting Lyrics.
Brilliant Numbers and a Few Sequences Brilliant numbers, coined by Peter Wallrodt, are defined as positive integers with exactly two prime factors of the same digital length (in decimal notation). For example, 123467 = 311 * 397. You may want to give a short lecture on them at your next barbecue or family reunion.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


RSD | RSS I | RSS II | Atøm | Spanish

Support Submit
From the Y.P.aRchives
Fun, Fickle Fiction (for Free!)
Fact, Opinion, Essay, & Review
Spectacular Features, Calendrical Happenings, Media Gadflies
Poetry & Lyric
Advice, How To, & Self-Help
Semi-Frequent Columns
Letter from the Editors
Disquieting Modern Trends
Interviews with Interviewers
One-Question Interviews
The Book Club
Media Gadflies
Calendrical Happenings
Correspondence (Letters To and Letters From) Letters from Y.P.R. Letters to Y.P.R. Birthday Cards to Celebrities Pop Stars in Hotel Rooms Shreek of the Week of the Day Polish Facts: An Antidote to the Polish Joke The Y.P.aRt Gallery Illustrious Illustration Photography Photomontage Graphic Design Logo Gallery What's Up with That? Fuit Salad Nick's Guff Vermont Girl The M_methicist Daily Garfield Digest New & Noteworthy Contributors' Notes Et Cetera, Et Cetera, Et Cetera The Y.P.aRchives

This journal is powered by Movable Typo 4.01.

Y.P.R. & Co.