My big life decisions I have actually looked at like this. What if I never got married, either time? what if I kept dating this girl, and never met that one? What if my parents never kissed at the enchantment under the sea dance back in 1955? What if my father followed his gut in that fire, and ran the way that killed him? What if I had never been born to lose that $8000 from the building and loan? What if, instead of focusing on my career and becoming a wall street executive, I had married my sweetheart instead?
If I had never married the first time, I wouldn't have my daughter. If I had never married Sam, I wouldn't have Tango. I'm pretty happy with my life as is, give or take a health snafu or two. I do sometimes wish I had not gone so deep on Power of the Force figures, but if it hadn't been them, it would have been something else.
But we love this type of thought problem, even though our minds can't possibly grasp every ramification of even the smallest flap of the time butterfly's fractal wings.
So in that spirit, I'm going to hit a few of the time travel stories and tropes I have seen or read. After, all, for want of a nail...
So first of all, for the season, two offerings. Both courtesy of angels who are apparently out in force this time of year. During the christmas season, you can't throw a rock without hitting three archangels and a cherub.
- It's a Wonderful Life. First, I'm gonna admit a terrible thing. I don't love this film. I saw it in it's entirety way late in life, after seeing so many different takes on it. The short of it is George Bailey is thinking of ending his life due to missing money and a potential scandal. He is shown by the apprentice Angel Clarence that his life has a greater value to those around him than he knows or even suspects. It's a beloved Christmas classic about suicide, depression and supernatural forces.
- The Family Man- Jack Campbell is given a short vacation in an alternate life where he married his girlfriend, had kids and a happy but only moderately successful life. This one also takes place around Christmas. Campbell finds his alternate life is preferable, but can't stay in it, leaving him to try to apply the lessons he learned and make the best of mixing the life he has with the one he wants.
- Speaking of Christmas stuff, the Smallville Episode Lexmas did this with Luthor. He was shown a life where he gave up power, married Lana Lang and had kids. Since this is Lex Luthor, I think you know how this one goes...
A lot of the big decisions we make are in high school, which is where our next time journeys come from.
- Back to the Future Sends Marty McFly Speeding at 88 MPH in a DeLorean bound for 1955, where he first disturbs and then has to put back together his parents relationship in order to preserve his own life and those of his siblings. He returns to a subtly changed world, as he had managed to improve his parent's lives in significant ways.
- In Peggy Sue Got Married, Peggy Sue Bodell is transported back to her high school days and initially decides to break up with her high school sweetheart, then realizes that she never realized that he likes pina coladas. she wakes up in the hospital after seeing her youth through new eyes and rekindles her relationship with her husband.
Above, I mentioned for want of a nail- there was a three part DC:Elseworlds graphic novel called The Nail which posits what could have happened if the Kents never took a drive that fateful day, due to flat tire. It's an interesting and worthwhile read.
My favorite pieces regarding Do-Overs are:
- a novel by Terry Pratchett called Night Watch. Sir Samuel Vimes, the watch commander is thrown back in time and aided by the History Monk Lu-Tze in getting back to his home time while preserving the timeline so that there is a home to go back to.
- and Frequency-Not the show, which is entertaining enough, but the movie- the past becomes connected to the present via the Aurora Borealis and a short-wave radio- a father and son thirty years apart speak in real time and alter the fathers future. I love this one because each change brings on a new set of memories, and effects in the present. Changing the father's life endangers the mothers life and they must scramble to save her by figuring out what else they changed.
Other leaguers made their own trips
- Green Plastic Squirt Gun Missed out on a once in a lifetime find
- The Toy Box spun a tale of broken records and Sold treasures
- 20 Years Before 2000 regrets subscription boxes passed by
- The Harvey Mearcheum spins a tale of Star Wars toys let go and clawed comics
- Toy Break would have undone a rap in the nose because of a rap of his own
- Alexis' Universe gives us a sad tale of familial woe and lost toys.
- G.I. Jigsaw wishes he could have pictures of toy aisles past and a one-of-a-kind piece he let go