Marty McFly had his DeLorean powered by the flux capacitor with 1.21 gigawatts. Theodore Logan and Bill S. Preston Esq. commandeered a magical phone booth, with George Carlin as their tour guide no less. Hell, all Peggy Sue needed was a bump on the head. Since the dawn of speculation, great thinkers and morons alike have contemplated the possibility of time travel. Though we all make our best efforts to live a life without regret, it seems that everyone has at least one moment that, given a second chance, we would do differently. And of course, there is always that partial criminal idiot in all of us that would do exactly what Biff did in the second installment of Back to the Future.
And though we may never get a chance to adjust the past for a more lucrative future, we experience time warps on a daily basis. Sometimes several times. Honestly, how many of us guys hear the song "Beat It" and are suddenly seven years old again, making a fool out of themselves in some random relative’s living room with a batting glove on? How many times have you walked through a mall food court, and the smell of a waffle cone instantly throws you back to the county fair in ’86?
Now some of you may be thinking, "no, what the hell are you talking about?" But I will venture a guess that most of you know exactly what I’m talking about. See, for those of us with even a sliver of imagination, the slightest scent or brief soundbite can send us hurtling through time and space to a different place. Most days we can’t remember what we bought at the grocery store last week, yet the most random song can transport us back decades, to a moment so tangible it could have been yesterday.
These simple stimuli can induce memories that cover the spectrum of sensations and emotions. Happy times, sad times, hard times, and embarrassing times alike. The smallest whiff of Jack Daniels, and I am instantly thrown back in time, to a 6 a.m. flight home from Las Vegas. Apparently, you haven’t lived until you have tried to contort your body into a position to yak into a toilet in a room no larger than a refrigerator. Just a few bars of Sade’s "By Your Side," and suddenly I’m in the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center, scared and confused. Third Eye Blind’s "Semi-Charmed Life" puts me behind my dad’s boat some random summer, humming the song as I wakeboard. And what wrestler isn’t instantly thrust into the heat of battle upon hearing "Eye of the Tiger," by Survivor?
The best part of all, is that these little fits of deja vu seem to come from nowhere, taking us by complete surprise. It’s almost like that weirdo from Quantum Leap, we never quite know where we are headed, or when. So what do we do? The only thing TO do, sit back and enjoy the ride. Here’s to hoping you all have a great time as your memories take you by storm, and hopefully those of you my age are only rarely thrown back to that awkward high school dance in the late nineties by that hideous song from Titanic. Happy traveling…