7 Time Machines that would suck if they existed in the real world
As promised, here is the third article in my list of failed Cracked.com pitches. This was actually the first pitch I made to them.
Let’s be honest, time travel is bad ass. Everyone would love to travel back in time and buy up shares of Microsoft or crates of unboxed Star Wars figures from back in the ’70s and then return to the present and live large like P Diddy. We are all waiting for that moment when NASA holds a press conference and says, “HOLY CRAP, WE JUST SAW DINOSAURS!!! I WAS NEARLY EATEN BY A T-REX!! A F’N T-REX, PEOPLE!!” Everyone on Earth is gonna lose their minds and there will be rioting in the streets like when the Lakers win an NBA Championship. So when this announcement inevitably happens in the far flung future, what will be the rules of time travel? What will the time travel vehicle look like? No one knows. Movies, TV and books have given us some ideas of what time travel MAY be like. Let’s take a look at what I hope will NOT be what time travel is like when we all get to go back in time and play Marty McFly.
The Phonebooth from the two Bill & Ted movies – Despite what the movies show you, this is no good for sending teams of people back. I know Bill & Ted fit like 20 people in it, but in reality, have you ever tried to fit TWO people in a phone booth? It’s like a game of Twister. To send several people back you’d really need like 10 booths. Besides, AT&T stopped servicing and turned off all their phone booths, so are there any fully enclosed phone booths left? Why don’t we just make the time vehicle out of a horse and carriage? It makes as much sense. And the flimsy rabbit ears antenna on top? Is this booth traveling through time or trying to pick up grainy cable stations? It’s BEGGING to be damaged by random debris in the time continuum. Plus, who the hell came up with the phone book and dialing strings of numbers to get to specific dates? A yellow pages of time travel? What if you want to go back to ancient Rome to meet Socrates, mis-dial the number and get dropped in the middle of the Spanish Inquisition? Hope you are fireproof cause you are gonna get burned alive as a heretic. Time travel’s not so fun now, is it?
The quantum accelerator from Quantum Leap – This one looks cool at first. You strip down to a white body stocking and stand in a room filled with wind and light as if you were some bad ass progressive rock star from the ’70s about to give a rockin’ performance to Madison Square Garden. But that’s about where the awesome ends. You have absolutely no control over this device as it sends you hurling through the timeline and depositing you into other people’s bodies. Imagine jumping into a guy about to get gang raped in the Riker’s Island showers. All of a sudden, not so awesome. And you can only jump to dates within your own lifetime? Lame. I want to go back and hunt dinosaurs, not go back and relive being a dork in high school.
Time coaster from the movie Time Cop — A time machine from a Jean Claude Van Damme movie has a bad design? I know, shocking, right? This one is controlled by rooms of supercomputers which can pinpoint exactly where you are traveling in time and send you there. Pretty awesome so far, right? It’s about how I imagine a real time machine working. However, it’s like the time vehicle was designed by psychotic monkeys…that are blind. The “time car” is an odd, wedge shaped vehicle that shoots flaming jets out the back like the friggin’ Batmobile and travels forward on a set of roller coaster tracks at an extreme velocity towards a brick wall. Yes, you heard me right, a BRICK F’N WALL. When the time car reaches a certain speed it is supposed to pierce the fabric of the time barrier and disappear into the past before it hits said brick wall. However, when the time machine has a glitch and the car doesn’t disappear into the past, it crashes headfirst into the brick wall and all persons involved are violently killed. My question? Why did they build a brick wall at the end of the track in the first place? Why didn’t they leave the room open at one end? That way, if there is a “glitch”, the vehicle just glides to a happy, bloodless stop. No time vehicle to rebuild, no new recruits to train and nobody needs to die. At the very least they could put some pillows or a giant net at the end of the tracks. Yes, that would make everything look like a Road Runner cartoon, but DAMN, people! Also, what the hell is the gigantic stone monolith at the end of the track? Does that actually serve a purpose other than making this whole thing just look bad ass?
Cessna plane from the movie Time Chasers — This movie was skewered on a classic episode of Mystery Science Theater. It involves this dorky guy building a time machine out of a Cessna airplane and an Apple computer. You would imagine that when one is conceiving of a time vehicle, it should be inconspicuous. At least try to make the vehicle somewhat easy to pilot and hide, you know? Well, nothing like designing your time vehicle to “blend into the surroundings” by requiring you to land it at a friggin’ airport. Also, how do all the time circuits and computer power needed to crunch your time traveling numbers get power in an airplane? Do you have to get a generator? With all the computer equipment, backup systems and electrical generators you’re stuffing inside the fuselage the plane is gonna weigh more than Rosie O’Donnell and cause it to sink to the Earth like a free falling chunk of metal. Assuming it even makes it off the ground. Also, I’m impressed that all the computing power you need to break the fabric of space-time is an Apple ][ computer. Something that would be hard pressed to do your 2009 income taxes can easily hurl you into the future.
Time Displacement device from The Terminator movies – We don’t really get to see what the time machine looks like in any of the movies, but we get to see the result; the time traveler showing up bare-ass naked with scars and blood all over their body. What a way to make NOBODY want to time travel. I can imagine the scientists right before you go back in time: “So just take off all your clothes and we’ll get started…oh, by the way, time travel is gonna f**k your s**t up.” If this is how time travel is going to work in the future, the government won’t have to worry about anyone going back to the past trying to screw with the time stream. I’m sure I’m not the only one that likes my body without all the sores and bleeding, thank you.
Storage shed time travel device in the movie Primer – This was a small independent movie released in 2004, but since I’m a sucker for time travel movies, I watched it. It’s somewhat creepy that the time machine in this movie is kept in one of those rented storage rooms. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time hanging around the creepy storage place trying to travel through time. Hookers, crack whores and pedophiles (oh my!) lurk in every corner (at least every time I’m there). Also, the rules of this particular creepy, storage room time machine are a bitch. You got a pen? You’re going to have to write this down (or look at this picture): You can only go back in time as far as you are willing to wait. For instance, you turn on the machine at noon and then kill 6 hours (I don’t know, dude, read a book). Then you get in the device at 6pm and wait another mind numbing 6 hours in the device (I know, right? Hopefully you brought some porn). Then, when you exit the device, it’s at the original noon. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of work to wait 12 hours real time and only travel back six hours. I have trouble waiting 15 minutes for a table at Red Lobster much less 12 hours in a storage shed looking like an idiot sitting 12 hours in a storage shed.
Uncle Rico’s time machine from Napoleon Dynamite – Well, it’s on this list because it doesn’t work, but it doesn’t work in the most awesome way imaginable.