December 8, 2012

Today is "Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day."

Geekdad proclaims it "genius." (Via Instapundit.)
- 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"....

- 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.
Pranks. Aren't we supposed to give up pranks now that that one lady committed suicide?

37 comments:

edutcher said...

And Geekdad is who, again?

ricpic said...

Time's up on December 21st!!!

leslyn said...

This sounds like Alzheimer's to me.

leslyn said...

Unutterable tragic about a suicide over that prank. Left behind two kids.

Not funny.

DADvocate said...

So this is the earlier days of Althouse.com. The matriarch of the Althouse dynasty seems quite lively. You should see her great great granddaughter.

Ann Althouse said...

@DADvocate LOL

Ann Althouse said...

Now, a trick will be to do it in other posts!

Robert Cook said...

There are clever pranks--(see the great book PRANKS, published by RE/Search books)--then there are not clever pranks.

This is a not clever prank.

Robert Cook said...

There are clever pranks--(see the great book PRANKS, published by RE/Search books)--then there are not clever pranks.

This is a not clever prank.

elkh1 said...

How about:
"- Walk up to random people and say "WHAT YEAR IS THIS?" and when they tell you, get quiet and fall to your knees, and yell "NOOOOOOOOO.... it's too late!" Take some trinket ...along with a phone number and say "dial this number. You’ll know what to do." Then run off.

Mitchell the Bat said...

It's okay to do pranks so long as you telegraph your intentions from the get go.

For "Time Traveler Day," I'd suggest talking like a pirate.

Coketown said...

This isn't funny. And not because a lady committed suicide. She'll probably spring out of her coffin at the funeral and yell, "Surprise! Joke's on ALL of you!" Kate's probably in on it, too. That would be funny.

This isn't funny because the point of pranks is relishing the consequences. It would be funny if somebody filmed these pranks so the audience could laugh at the outcome. But then it's just Candid Camera, and that's not very original.

So, on your own, you run up to strangers, shout nonsense, and run away? And you don't get to see their reaction? And nobody else sees their reaction? That's not funny. That's amateur terrorism. It's like putting a flaming bag of shit on someone's doorstep and running away rather than hiding in the shrubs across the street to laugh your ass off. I don't get it.

Or is it funny in the hypothetical sense? Like, these aren't meant to actually be done; it's just funny imagining them being done? Because then we become the audience when we imagine the consequences, and that's funny. I guess.

But, the first two are internally inconsistent. If you're time traveling, wouldn't you know what year you're going to? Or do you just push a button and pray you end up at approximately the right time to do whatever you were sent to do? That's pretty risky considering you're aiming for a decade-size target in a 12-billion year haystack. Some future--or past--society is depending on you to hit a certain target to alter the course of history, and they're not even sure if they got the date right? Why would they send you in the first place?

Sometimes I over-analyze things to death. A few weeks back a friend of mine that grew up in Communist-era Belarus was explaining this cartoon they had. It was about a mouse that lived in a house entirely made of cottage cheese, and all it ate was cottage cheese. When it was hungry it would pull cottage cheese from the cottage cheese-couch and eat it. And I kept questioning what happened when it ran out, and why it didn't spoil. And he was incredulous. It's a cartoon! The supply of cottage cheese is infinite and doesn't spoil. But I didn't get it.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Full Disclosure: Not too long ago I was in a RiteAid or something. The store was pretty empty and I approached the young lady working the register.

"Excuse me, could you help me please? I see where you've got many toothpastes that whiten teeth but I didn't see anything that makes them green. Maybe I missed it?

She became greatly concerned, pondered the matter, apologized and then started off to the toothpastes to find what I was looking for.

At that point I had to let her know I was joking.

She became furious with herself: "I'm so stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!"

Jesus Christ I felt like an ass.

And then to make it worse she apologized for not getting that it was a joke.

In retrospect, I now realize I went too deadpan. The mischievous glint in my eye wasn't sufficient to span the 30 odd years that separated us.

When I was younger I would have made it more pantomime, to be sure.

But I'm in my 50s, now, and that sort of thing seems . . . well . . . undignified.

Mitchell the Bat said...

But hey, maybe she went home that evening and committed self-murder.

And if so, then . . . YAHOO!!! I'M OFF THE HOOK!!!1!1!!!!

Zach said...

The closest statue to me is a memorial to the Trummelfrauen, the women who cleaned up the rubble after the city was burned down.

Kind of spoils the effect.

Zach said...

Before that, it was a huge memorial to the Soviets who died getting rid of the Nazis.

Just keep walking, is my advice.

whoresoftheinternet said...

"Who's the president?....NOOOOOO!"

SteveR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SteveR said...

Maybe its funny because you imagine it being done and think its funny, you share it with somebody else and they find it funny. Not really tremendous life changing funny but just your average, part of having a good day, having a sense of humor funny.

Imagination and a good sense of humor. No one gets hurt, feel free to perticipate or perhaps not.

Chip S. said...

I run into people asking me what year it is every now and then.

I just assume they're having acid flashbacks.

Big Mike said...

If you're going to pretend to be a time traveler from the past it will help to wear a polyester leisure suit and have long hair and sideburns.

Oh, and wear Hush Puppies.

And a turtleneck.

Sam L. said...

Or wear khakis and plaid short sleeve shirts (two of them), have short hair, and ask "Please to tell me where preppies (look at phrase book) hang out."

el polacko said...

rather theatrical...but funny. although, i'm with coketown: if you aren't around to enjoy the reaction then what really is the point ?

kentuckyliz said...

Who commits suicide over a prank?! I don't understand that at all.

Quaestor said...

Don a gorilla suit and go to the foot of the Statue of Liberty, then loudly declaim: "They haven't done it yet. Damn you all to Hell!"

EDH said...

Suicide?

Well, tonight I was thinking about walking into a bad-ass biker bar, naked, and saying "I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle."

EDH said...

Then again, maybe tonight it's a little cold for that to work for me, if you know what I mean.

Big Mike said...

@EDH, go ahead and do it. You'll just die laughing.

Big Mike said...

@EDH, go ahead and do it. You'll just die laughing.

rehajm said...

This is nothin' - the real trick is to convince someone else they are a time traveller.

Astro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Astro said...

Regarding 'that one lady who committed suicide':
I gotta admit I thought the whole thing was a prank including this 'suicide'. I mean really, an Edward the VII Hospital? Is that across the street from the 8th National Royal Bank? But alas, I guess the suicide was real.

I wonder if her suicide had anything to do with the fact that her kids look like that painting of Abraham Lincoln.

Astro said...

This 'pretend to be a time traveler day' really ought to be on October 2nd, Jack Finney's birthday.
I think he wrote more time traveler adventures than most scifi writers.
For example:
I love Galesburg in the Springtime

JAL said...

It's not the doing the time travel prank that is funny.

It's the thinking about it and imagining it.

MayBee said...

It can be fun to figure out who in the room is a time traveller.

You can do it in your head and amuse yourself, or figure it out with someone else.

MayBee said...

As for the suicide, it is ridiculous to blame the pranksters, but in London and Australia there is an all-out blame fest going toward them. I finally saw one guy (a radio host) speak out against the tide of blame.

It reminds me of the blame directed at the Rutgers roommate of the depressed gay student who threw himself from a bridge.

Why don't we focus on the depression or mental state that leads one to commit suicide? We could have real conversations about suicide instead of using them to vent at people who unwittingly encountered and interacted with unhealthy people.

lgv said...

One should read the story of the first time traveler ad. The reality that it was not a real ad I'm sure depressed many respondents.

It's sad in many ways.

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/silveira125.html