Sunday, April 02, 2006


Time Travel. It's completely impossible (sorry Star Trek), and the very concept drives Jim D. into a mad frenzy for reasons he will actually go into all on his own. Yet film after film and cheap paperback after cheap paperback and an endless flood of comics and Twilight Zone episodes dwell on the possibility of "yeah, but what if...?" Plus, Jim kept bugging me about a time travel paradox question and some book he'd just read while I was working on my list.

So, we at The League of Melbotis, felt a time-travel question was a good one to ask Loyal Leaguers. After all, you all seem like a mass of insecurity and regret. But you can't really do this right without giving people a chance to change both themself and the world.

On to the question...

Question 10:

If I had a time machine with a single use, and my time travelling would not be filled with all sorts of crazy logic problems, I would go back to fix this one thing this year

--in my personal life
--on a more macrocosmic level

Eric Nordtrom:

--in my personal life
I wouldn't have allowed that thief to get ahold of my debit card number.
--on a more macrocosmic level
I'd have gone back to the Sunday before the levees broke, and chartered a convoy of buses to take everyone from New Orleans to ...


--in my personal life:

Switch actual LSAT score with best practice LSAT score. Come to think of it: Switch out actual day-to-day life generally with best practice day-to-day life.

--on a more macrocosmic level:

(editor's note: no answer)


--in my personal life: My marriage, but I truly believe it was unfixable (if that's a word).
--on a more macrocosmic level: The evacuation plan for New Orleans -- they should have bussed people out BEFORE the hurricane not after.

Jim D.:

First off, I don't believe you can use time travel to go back and "fix" anything. This is what irks me about time travel fiction in film and books. For the literary theory of time travel to be consistent, the time traveler can only play a role (known or more likely, unknown) in bringing about that which is already happened. He or she may attempt to change things or to bring about a different history, but whatever he or she does, he or she will only influence history in a way that will bring about the history we already know. So, on that level, this question is moot. But I don't think The League was seeking quite a nerdy objection to its question, so I must proceed.

--in my personal life

I doubt there is anything "this year" that I would go back and change. Really, any ripple effect from a temporal change would need to begin at least several years ago, as my life has been mostly the same for quite some time. I might go back to the summer of 1998 and tell myself to accept the job in Manhattan. I wonder how my life would have ended up if I had taken that job. Would I still be in NYC? Would I have ever gone to law school? If so, would I have gone to Baylor? What would I be doing now? Where would I be? Would you be reading this right now? Would the Mellies exist? Would the League's site? I might go back to 1994 and tell myself to study abroad (or at least, study more at home).

--on a more macrocosmic level

I don't know if I would want the responsibility of changing something on the macrocosmic level. I suppose the proper answer is to warn of or attempt to prevent some type of disaster or attack. I don't know what I would do. I would probably just prevent George Lucas from making (or remaking or reworking or redoing) any film after Empire Strikes Back). Sure, we would lose Indy, but I'm comfortable with that, especially since they are soon to ruin that franchise with a new sequel (and the second and third installments weren't that good to begin with, anyway).

Ryan V.:

--in my personal life
--on a more macrocosmic level

I have no regrets. Or at least I’m not admitting them on my public blog.


--in my personal life
Never make someone who has done nothing to prove his value a partner in your firm.

--on a more macrocosmic level
I might have told that guy to hold off on the cartoon of Mohammed. Not that I have a problem with it in any way, but lots of people died. Over a cartoon. A cartoon. But military action is not the way to resolve problems, we should really get the angry cartoon killers back at the negotiating table. I’m sure there is a lot of fruitful discussion to be had with people who advocate the wholesale destruction of another nation and deny the Holocaust ever happened. These people clearly have the mindset to reach a compromise and a roadmap to peace.


-None come to mind. I might not be the same person if I changed past events. You know….don’t mess with the whole “space-time continuum”


• in my personal life

Clearly I would fix my failure to win a single Powerball drawing.

• on a more macrocosmic level

Hurricane Katrina. I don't know how, but that's what I would fix.

--in my personal life: I'd eat better.
--on a more macrocosmic level: I'd help evacuate people from New Orleans sooner.

Social Bobcat:

--in my personal life
-would have called my grandfather on his birthday

--on a more macrocosmic level
-would have called my grandfather on his birthday to tell him that i'd just won a million dollars on sports gambling in Vegas


--in my personal life:
I had an interview at a network and I was offered coffee and I took it and I was drinking my coffee in the interview and I missed my mouth in the interview and spilled the coffee on myself. And uh. I wouldn't do that.

--on a more macrocosmic level:
More recycling.

--in my personal life
My personal life has never been better. I'm in love with my girlfriend and think she's the best girlfriend ever.

--on a more macrocosmic level
I'd like to record every failure of communication within all levels of government in terms of Katrina. I'd like to show this to the world as a demonstration of why great companies fail and why a "CEO president" is something we should run away from, fast.


personal- go back in time and get out of my old job much sooner. I kept working there in the hopes that things would get better, but they just got worse and worse and finally I got laid off.

macrocosmic- I'd go back and warn those New Orleanians that Hurricane Katrina was bringing her own little judgement day along with her.


--in my personal life: quit old job sooner, taken more time off in between old and new jobs
--on a more macrocosmic level:
eliminate dick cheney and or karl rove

--in my personal life

Valentine's Day 2006 (don't even ask; let's just say I screwed up on this day for the first time in the 13 years that we have been going out / married)

And if I could go back farther than this year, the Wilson Festivus 2004 party

--on a more macrocosmic level

I can't even began to narrow this down. It would be any number of the rotten things that our government has done to the world and it's own citizens over the past year. I would do everthing in my power to stop it. I don't have any more time to pick out one specific thing (sorry, it's 12:30 CST on March 15th).

D. Loyd: Too early to say.
--in my personal life. Family issues.
--on a more macrocosmic level. Aliens!

Personal - I would have gone to my plasmapheresis treatments more often. Maybe I wouldn't be on dialysis now if I had.

Macrocosmic - I would have evacuated everyone from the New Orleans/Gulf Coast area and have improved the levees to handle a category 5 hurricane. This is all prior to Katrina, of course.

The League:

Personal - I would not have shot that man in Reno just to watch him die.

ah, heck... I would probably not have spent each and every weekend watching VH1. I probably would have tried to make something of my life. Whoops. Too late.

Also, probably should have tried to train Lucy at some point.

MacroCosmic - Stopped Galactus, Eater of Planets, from destroying Marklarr VII, home of a crystalline intelligence unlike any known in the 4 quadrants of the Faizuul Nebula.

Also, maybe, done some Paul Revere work to try to save New Orleans and/ or the residents.


How do some of you have no regrets from the past year? Jesus. That's some serious confidence. Or something.

I think we're agreed that Katrina blew chunks. As well as Rita (sorry about all that displacement, Jim D.).

Mr. Bobcat gets special points for maybe winning a million dollars (I have some great investment opportunities if you're looking to make a lot of money in the Arizona Ocean-Front Property business. Actually, that's the plot to Superman I, isn't it?).

For a guy who actually was kicked out of his home for a few weeks by a natural disaster, Jim D. remains philosophical. However, he was a Rita victim and probably knew to get the hell out of the way.

Harms probably meant to be darling, but I've noticed his girlfriend is now in every answer. I may need to start making fun of you now.

Tamara gets triple points for the "LSAT" response.

Nat, didn't know about the divorce. The guy was a bastard and you're better off without him. Now, if you're looking to start over and are looking for a guy who is a lot like, uh... Chewbacca... may I suggest Steanso..? He's a unique fixer-upper-opportunity.

Peabo, I just want to know how you would phrase it to the Danish cartoonist that their doodle was going to lead to dozens to deaths and weeks of rioting without making him think you were some sort of loony doomsday prophet.

Jamie's medical history isn't much to snicker about, and we're really not sure if extra pheresis would have helped. To be truthful, she seemed to be getting sick from the treatments for a while there, so I dunno what I would have done differently. Last year sucked.

I can also say that, if I knew more than five of you were going to respond, my list of questions would have been a lot shorter. Getting these results up has officially turned into work. When was the last time I had a normal post? Ah, hell... you monkeys probably are enjoying this more than the usual Superman-related post.

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