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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day

Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day was created in 2007 by a now defunct (as far as I can determine, anyway) conglomerate of webcomics called Koala Wallop*. Here's Wired at the time:

Saturday, December 8th has been declared "Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day."  The whole idea is to pretend for the day that you are a traveler from a different time – except that, of course, you can’t actually *tell* people you’re a time traveler, because they’ll think you’re crazy.  There are, of course, options as to how a traveler from a certain other time might act:

Utopian/cliché Future –

If the Future did a documentary of the last fifty years, this is how badly the reenactors would dress. Think Star Trek: TNG or the Time Travelers from Hob. Ever see how the society in Futurama sees the 20th century? Run with it. Your job is to dress with moderately anachronistic clothing and speak in slang from varying decades. Here are some good starters:

– Greet people by referring to things that don’t yet exist or haven’t existed for a long time. Example: "Have you penetrated the atmosphere lately?" "What spectrum will today’s broadcast be in?" and
"Your king must be a kindly soul!"

– Show extreme ignorance in operating regular technology.  

Dystopian Future

This one offers a little more flexibility. It can be any kind of future from Terminator to Freejack. The important thing to remember is dress like a crazy person with armor. Black spray painted football pads, high tech visors, torn up trenchcoats and maybe even some dirt here or there. Remember, dystopian future travelers are very startled that they’ve gone back in time. Some starters:

– If you go the "prisoner who’s escaped the future" try shaving your head and putting a barcode on the back of your neck. Then stagger around and stare at the sky, as if you’ve never seen it before.

– Walk up to random people and say "WHAT YEAR IS THIS?" and when they tell you, get quiet and then say "Then there’s still time!" and run off.

– Stand in front of a statue (any statue, really), fall to your knees, and yell "NOOOOOOOOO"

– Stare at newspaper headlines and look astonished.

– Take some trinket with you (it can be anything really), hand it to some stranger, along with a phone number and say "In thirty years dial this number. You’ll know what to do after that." Then slip away.

The Past

This one is more for beginners. Basically dress in period clothing (preferably Victorian era) and stagger around amazed at everything. Since the culture’s set in place already, you have more of a template to work off of. Some pointers:

– Airplanes are terrifying.  Also, carry on conversations with televisions for a while.

– Discover and become obsessed with one trivial aspect of technology, like automatic grocery doors. Stay there for hours playing with it.

– Be generally terrified of people who are dressed immodestly compared to your era. Tattoos and shorts on women are especially scary.

If anyone gives this a try, report back to the class and let us know how it went. ;-)

I think this is one of the original comics - larger version here.

Related: What’s the Best Item to Carry With You During Time Travel?

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