Is a trip back in time in your future? Here are some helpful tips for today’s savvy inter-temporal travellers:
* Dress appropriately. Layered clothing can help keep you comfortable through sudden changes in weather, like ice ages. Also, if you’re going way back, bring some decent sunglasses for The Big Bang.
* Watch out for a caveman named Zog. His father discovered the magic of fire. Zog discovered the magic of gouging people’s eyes out with a sharp rock.
* Bring local currency. Confederate money, bison pelts, wampum, Spanish pieces-of-eight, or POGs can usually be obtained at your local antique store.
* Buy stock in IBM, Berkshire Hathaway, and maybe Ford. Don’t buy stock in AOL, New Coke, or Glass Tiger merchandise manufacturers.
* Invent the internal-combustion engine, the Post-It note, or the Internet. Or, if not so technically inclined, the ruler.
* If you happen to be in Pompeii in the summer of 79 A.D., get the hell out. And don’t go to Herculaneum, either, unless you want to end up as that fossilized corpse inexplicably wearing a Timex Ironman.
* An ancient-Latin phrase book can be very helpful for asking questions like, “When is the next boat out of Pompeii?”
* Study astronomical tables so that if captured by vicious natives in a distant land you might be able to predict an eclipse, thereby convincing them that you have extinguished the Sun and the gods would be very angry if you were killed. (Note: only works if captured on day of eclipse.)
* The Powerball numbers for June 2, 1993 were 5-16-21-24-29-36-42. Keep that under your hat.
* Be sure to check out the natural beauty of North America back before the arrival of the white man: virgin forests, unpolluted lakes and rivers, and, echoing across the plains, the thunder of stampeding unicorns.
* If you see Jesus hanging from a cross, leave him there. He needs to die to save humanity from its sins. If you see Jesus walking around, tackle him and strangle him with your bare hands.
* Many a friendly wager can be won by predicting the end of Twilight Zone episodes, like the one where the girl is recovering from plastic surgery and when they remove the bandages she’s beautiful, but all the doctors and nurses think she’s ugly because they have pig snouts. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, see.
* If you happen to find yourself in the Shangri-la Buffet in Las Vegas on the night of May 15, 1987, DO NOT try the clams. Instead, just hang around outside and hail a cab. Ask some showgirls “When is the next boat out of Pompeii?” while you’re waiting, just for laughs.
* Visit Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865, to catch a performance of Tom Taylor’s Our American Cousin, featuring the delightfully foppish Lord Dundreary. Also, you can witness the assassination of Abraham Lincoln — but don’t interfere! Otherwise, Andrew Johnson would never have been president. Think of the alternate-reality nightmare that would have been.
* IMPORTANT! Don’t kill your grandparents.