What a Potential Time Traveler Would Tell His 15 Year Old Self

I called  up the guy who pitched me on a time machine business a few years ago.

Let me back it up. We met in 2007. We all had dinner. Mark, Mike, Chris, Dan, me. Mark had the time machine concept. He had a powerpoint ready.

First we all had steak. I had mine rare. If I could do it all over again (which I might! haha) I would probably order it medium rare. It was a bit purple on the inside.

Mark explained exactly the science behind his time machine. There were a lot of equations. He had just gotten his PhD.

This sounds like a joke. Like, why didn’t I just get up and say this is ridiculous.

Probably because I was insecure. I didn’t have a PhD. And Mark was incredibly smart. But, there was the time machine. Anyway, I wanted to sound smart. So I asked a question.

I asked, “Mark, what if the Earth moves. Like, if someone goes back in time and the Earth had moved then won’t you end up in space?”

This was a question I  asked in an actual business pitch meeting where someone was asking me for my personal money.

He said, “great question!” and he went on to explain how his equations accounted for that.

I felt smart. I felt like everyone at the table thought I was smart for asking such a great question.

But this is not the point of any of this.

Because I had to call Mark again today, 7 years later.

Because today is “What Would You Do If You Could Call Your 15-year-old Self” Day.

In other words, it’s a Flash Holiday (TM).

All we have are flash holidays now. Like a few months ago was Justine Sacco Day. People now ask themselves, “Where were you on Justine Sacco Day?” when everyone was waiting for her to land. And the other day was “Ukraine Day” (never forget!)

Real holidays don’t exist anymore. Memorial Day, for my kids, is a day where they go shopping and eat at Cheesecake Factory. They don’t know what the word “memorial” means. They don’t know what “Veterans” really are.

I can say for a fact they dont know anything about “Labor”. And if you ask them what happened on Easter, good Catholics that they are, they have no clue.

But if something is trending on twitter for the entire day, then I bet they know what it is, and it’s a Flash Holiday for them. They celebrate it, they think about it, they talk about it, and sometimes they cry if it’s sad.

Me too.

So today is: What Would You Do If You Could Give Your 15 Year Old Self Advice..Day.


Most people will never be able to do this. But I called my friend who pitched me the time machine. Conceivably, he might be the one person on the planet who cannot only speculate on what he would say, but he will actually say it to his 15 year old self at some point.

Mark picked up on the first ring. I reminded him who I was. He said, “James! I’m so glad you called.” I told him I had to ask him a question.

He mentioned that he wants to get together to go over some business ideas and he wanted to show me his “magnet” he was working on at [Famous College in NY] University’s laboratory where he was now an assistant professor.

“It’s 70,000 times more powerful than the Earth’s magnetic field.”

So we arranged to get together at [Famous College] the next day. Hopefully I’ll write about that in another post.

I told him the reason for my call. We hadn’t spoken in over 6 years but I said that I didn’t want to be like all the bullshit bloggers who just speculate on “What I Would Tell My 15 Year Old Self”.

I wanted to know what a potential time traveler would tell his 15 year old self. So I asked him.

He told me without hesitation. I am going to quote verbatim so I just stand out of the way of a time traveler:

” oh, shit – that’s easy: 1) most (like 85-90%) of people are greedy fucks and/or criminals … 2) do what you absolutely love…you have to trust somehow that it will work out and …. 3) completely respect women.”

I told him I thought that was really smart and most people only realize these things through decades of pain and frustration about all three of those items.

He was sort of silent at that.

And that’s when I realized.

He HAS been through decades of pain. And then he traveled back in time to tell his 15 year old self so that he wouldn’t experience that pain again.

Sometimes I’m such an idiot when it comes to knowing the obvious.