H.G. Ertel’s The Time Machine

H.G. Ertel’s The Time Machine
H. G. Ertel

For years scientists have disputed the possibility of time travel: matter can’t travel faster than the speed of light, Zefram Cochrane won’t be born until the next century, yada yada. Other scientists just dodge the question entirely with things like, “I’m more than a little busy looking at these glass slides and shuffling these papers around” …and, “How did you get passed the retinal scan to get in here, anyway?”

As for me? I’ll quote a popular Monkee’s song, “I’m a Believer”…because yesterday it happened to me. I went from June 24th, 2012, all the way back to January 1st, 1970. I fell through what I believe was an inter-dimensional portal located in my apartment. I awoke to discover my cellphone had absolutely no service, and somehow the date/time had reset….SENDING ME BACK IN TIME!!!! Sorry for the ALL CAPS and exclamation points thing, but I believe the situation warranted the excitement implied by such a frowned-upon writing style. So…F-YOU!!!

The first thing I did—since everything I know about time-travel I learned from the Back to the Future films and season five of Lost—was check to see if I wasn’t somehow erasing little-by-little like that photo of Marty McFly and his siblings.

(By the way, the Johnny B. Goode part in BTTF, when Marty McFly goes ape shit & busts out some van Halen licks?! C’mon, how’d he get such a processed cheesy ‘80s metal sound out of a guitar/amp combo made in the early ‘50s?! Jesus man, fuzzboxes weren’t even invented until the ‘60s. Back to the Fender!?)

Everything’s still here, I thought to myself, double-checking my pants to see if my penis was still intact. Y’know…I’d better check again. You can’t be too careful when you’re messing with the fragile nature of the time/space continuum…or my balls. I repeated the procedure for the rest of the afternoon, just to be sure.

What DO you do when you’re suddenly transported back in time?! All of the possibilities were there…I could buy Apple stock, warn the public of things to come, I could even “write” all the greatest hits of the ‘70s, before they were written by the people that actually “wrote” them! Jesus Christ, I could convince John to ditch Yoko & keep The Beatles together! I could write Rush’s most classic albums! Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy, written by Ertel! Dark Side of the Moon, Wish you Were Ertel, Animals. All the music of Pink Floyd written by ME! Have a cigar, I’m gonna go far!

I could even (gasp) warn The Discord not to bother!

The financial rewards for my obsessive studies of useless bullshit over the past 20 years were finally going to pay off! I could start trends before they happened! invent Rap! Pre-date the ‘80s! Start wearing my pants down around my knees! On second thought, I’d better hold off on that one.

And the sex! Most STDs from the early 70s were basically cured by penicillin & special shampoos with lice-combs. None of this AIDS bullshit to deal with. Surely I could convince the porn industry that Lady Bics were the wave of the future!

I thought of all the old people I know…I could see them back in their heyday, complete with huge chunky sideburns and button-up shirts with butterfly collars. I could get drunk with my dad! …who sported a rather “Ohio Player’ish” afro/beard combo at the time, which made me think “man, cleaning the shower drain after THAT guy must’ ve been torture!”

Theoretically, I could have been downstairs drinking Billy Beer and watching The Rockford Files, while my parents were upstairs fucking in September of ‘75 to the mellow strains of If by Bread.

(Trust me, you have NO idea how much I just shivered typing that line. Better check my pants again to see if I’m disappearing.)

Then, they repaired the cellphone tower that caused this temporal rift in time….and I was suddenly back in 2012.

No untold billions.

No fame.

No massive numbers of girls just throwing themselves at me all in the name of “free love, man.”

Y’know what? FUCK John Lennon….I ain’t tellin’ him SHIT.

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