Has this happened to you? You’re off to the local bar to play for the Dart Championship. You have a five-year old girl, Stella. She adores you. She wants to play darts with you. “You can’t play darts with me, sweetie,” you say, “They serve beer and whisky there. You far too young to drink that stuff. Sorry, you’ll have to stay at home.”
Stella sulks and sulks. In fact, she will sulk every single day until she’s old enough to leave the house. During that time, she comes to learn about and revere Lizzie Borden, the woman who killed both her parents with an axe. Fortunately, you have a time machine. You go into the future and learn of your bloody demise. You recognize right away that you don’t want this.
you buy the little princess her own darts and dartboard. Alas, being five-years old, Stella’s aim is quite poor. Her toss veers wildly off course and skewers Timmy’s right hand. Timmy will never master cursive writing. His classmates will tease him incessantly. Timmy will withdraw into himself. He’ll never write A Blueprint for Resolving All Disputes Everywhere. Without this blueprint, future wars won’t be stopped. Not ever. You go into the future again and are appalled.
you buy Stella, foam darts and a foam dartboard. This time around–Hee hee, see what I did there–she doesn’t hurt anyone. However, add 17 + 3*20 and 13 proves too much for Stella’s young untrained mind. She learns to hate math. She develops a lively hatred for intellectuals and learning in general. Your princess nutures this hatred into a fierce desire to become President, or Prime Minister, if she moves to Britain. Once in power, she’ll completely sever all funding at all levels for education. Her country soon becomes completely ignorant of all things. Soon, the entire nation will be reduced to hunter/gatherers and is living in caves. You see this after travelling once more into the future. You resolve to stop this too as well.
you again make Stella form darts and dartboard. This time, hee hee, the dartboard looks like the one above. Every toss of her dart, results in a score of one or zero. Even your young Stella can add ones and zeros. So, she won’t follow you to the bar. She won’t pierce her brother’s hand with a dart. She won’t reduce an entire nation to caveman status. In fact, Stella will growsup to be incredibly average. She’ll blends into the background and never really get noticed for anything.
But given, her alternative timelimes, you are very happy at that. You might even go to the bar and have two beers to celebrate.
Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.