What would you change?

I’m reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63 which, in case you’re living under a rock and haven’t heard, is about a guy who goes back in time and attempts to prevent the assassination of JFK.

King presents Kennedy’s assassination as a watershed moment in history, and I don’t disagree with that argument.  I’d say 9/11 would be another one.

So, my question is, if you could somehow go back and prevent anything, what would it be?

For me, there’s the big ones, JFK and 9/11 of course.

I don’t know how Stephen King has plotted it out, but for JFK, I’d point out that I saw some suspicious-looking dude go into the library with a big gun.  Oh, and you may wanna check that grassy knoll over there while you’re at it.

As for 9/11, I’d probably just call in a whack of bomb threats.  One to each of the Trade Center buildings and the specific flights as well.  Though I think it would likely just delay the event, not kill it.

I’d like to go back and fix the voting debacle of 2000 that led to George W getting into office.  Don’t know how I’d fix that one…maybe take some of his future speeches on video…no…on second thought, Americans voted him in a second time, so that wouldn’t work.

Try and save those people on the Shuttle disasters.

I’d stop the Martin Luther King assassination.

Could I do something about Korea and Vietnam?  I’d try.

I’d try and take out Hitler before he became powerful.  Maybe get him into art college and let him spout his crap to fellow students, instead of the world.

I’d go back and kick Mark David Chapman right in the balls a few minutes before John Lennon came home.  Really hard.  That one I’d truly enjoy.

I don’t know how much I could change, but there’s a few people I’d really like to have some conversations with them.  And there’s some people I’d talk to a lot less.  And others I’d have stronger conversations much sooner.

For example, I’d go back and try and talk to my father before he gave up on life.  Hell, I’d probably go back at several points in his life and ask him what the hell he was thinking.  Then again, I could do that with quite a few people.

I’d probably do the same with my sister.  Or maybe I’d just find the guy who would eventually ask her out, then marry her and, before he could cause all that damage, I’d kick him in the balls too.  Even harder than Chapman.  And I’d enjoy that one too.  Hell, if I see Brian today, I’d probably do that.

I’d have a long talk with my step-father a few days before Christmas 1980 about the massive mistake he was going to make on Christmas day.  I’d try and fix that whole thing.  Maybe my mom’s marriage wouldn’t have gone so spectacularly off the rails in the span of a few hours.

There’s likely a few more things that I’m just too tired to think of, but there’s one more that I’d do.  This one would, pardon the pun, take some time, but it would be worth it.

I’d write up a list of people and timeframes.  I’d hand-write it so it would be recognizable as me.  And I’d document who to listen to, who to stay away from, and why.  Who to trust, who not to, and why.  But mostly, I’d explain to the skinny, shy, lonely, insecure kid that things would work out.  That, as shitty as life sometimes got, as hard as many situations seemed to be to deal with, as cruel as some people could be, that it would be okay.  I’d explain to that kid that things would get better and that, even though he would always take the long way around to finding his path, and would second-guess himself a lot along the way, that things would work out.  That life, while not perfect, would be pretty damn good.

And then I’d go give that written document to myself when I was about seven years old.

And one last thing…I’d tell him  to never play baseball with Jimmy Baldwin on a Sunday.  Especially when he was ten years old.

That’s gonna save him a whole lotta dentist trips.

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