If I were ever to receive the ability to foretell the future, on the condition that each time I use it I shall lose an entire day of my life, I might just as well take advantage of it. Of course considering how intense the consequences of my actions would be I should only be willing to employ it under absolutely the direst of all possible circumstances. Since no one can possibly foretell the day of his death anyway, I should take quite a casual attitude toward that provision of the deal. Exactly how could such a thing possibly be put into practice? It would be understandable if I could say with certitude that I’m going to die on some certain specific day. Then I could simply subtract a day from that and be ready for it. Who could possibly be in charge of calculating such an obscure thing? First and foremost I should have to predict the day of my death. Would that be possible? If that’s not one of the things I could foresee then the rest is just irrelevant. Of course there’s also the question of the moral ramifications of such a thing. Wouldn’t that be cheating? The future is hidden from mankind for a very good reason. Why should I try to tamper with it? All sorts of questions of the true nature of freedom would come into play. Unlike the liberal totalitarians I should very much let reality take its course. Every time someone opens Pandora’s box it leads to nothing but extremely big trouble with irrevocable consequences.
I should like to think that if somewhere over the course of the first few decades of the sixth century, an archaeologist of that era were to stumble upon the remains of my life, and to find my things all entirely intact, he would be able to say that early twenty first century man possessed some exceptionally interesting means of communication and of transportation, and that we were quite the snappy dressers. By then, of course, man may no longer use the same words we do to describe things, so they may not recognize, at first, all the things they find. There’s always the risk that people of the future may be a bit snobby about all they will then have. They will still have to admit, though, that man in the beginning of the twenty first century had all kinds of advantages, about things pertaining to communication, transportation, cleanliness and style. There would also be the matter of all my reading material, most of which is from the world of liberal arts and the humanities. Judging by what someone can find out from only my supply of literature, people will then end up assuming that man during our day was quite seriously interested in things like history, literature, philosophy and theology. They will also have to assume that music made quite a significant kind and degree of difference to people of our day. Everyone knows about my profound interest in many different musical styles. Most significant with me specifically may be my insatiable obsession with the past. People of the future will be forced to get the impression, from the looks of life in my world, that life during our era was significantly steeped in reflection upon bygone times. If someone finds any references to me specifically as an individual, I should expect him to go away pondering the once-upon-a-time world of a literate, articulate square with a penchant for the offbeat.
If, three hundred years from now, I could be named the patron saint of something, it would have to be anything offbeat. I’ve always had quite an eccentric sense of humor and a somewhat distinctive approach to life in general too. Even as a kid I was always the one with the obnoxious annoying attitude and disposition. My way of dealing with things isn’t really the least bit bad. It’s just entirely distinctive in the sense of my always seeming to come up with the kinds of ideas and behavior that strike other people as hard to understand. I seem to specialize in all sorts of things that no one else is quite ready for. In a world where practically everyone really likes sports, animals and “Star Trek”, I’ve never been even the least bit interested in any of them. When my cousins and I used to bowl, a while ago with the Knights of Columbus, I was often put on the spot because even though I’m left handed, I’ve always really liked to wear my watch on my left wrist. Everyone complained that no one ever wears his watch on his dominant wrist. Even though I’ve never been the least bit interested in sports I’ve always told people that the Mets are my favorite team because when I was a kid I lived in their neighborhood. People frequently reminds me that if someone doesn’t even like sports then by definition he can’t possibly have a favorite team. My sense of humor is another trait in which I specialize in veering always toward the overly distinctive. A distinguishing trait of my approach to humor is my never ending tendency to bombard people with references which no one recognizes. In my world there’s nothing so interesting as the never ending barrage of non sequiturs. It would be quite accurate to say that my never ending unpredictability has always been my trademark. It kind of helps that I’ve also always been quite knowledgeable about all sorts of obscure things, sort of like a combination of Cliff Clavin and Diane Chambers. Just imagine the kind of son they could have had. That’s pretty much how I am. It’s not that I deliberately go out of my way inevitably to say and to do things that are in any way whatsoever the least bit maliciously inappropriate. I’m just a bit too far out for just anyone’s taste. If, however, someone is willing and able to try to handle an exceptionally colorful trip with all sorts of hep twists and turns, having me around can be quite enjoyable.
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