Those Time Travel Clauses Always Get Caught Up in Court


Like everyone else, many things come across my desk that require my signature.  Most recently, I was handed paperwork for life insurance.  And as I literally signed my life away, I noticed that the effective date for this life insurance policy was dated May 31 – two weeks before I signed it.

Pre- and Post-dating materials is not an odd occurrence.  Shady bureaucrats (that seems a little redundant) do it all the time, for whichever reason might justify their needs at the moment:

“Here is the check for the Girl Scouts.”

“Sir, the Girl Scouts disbanded three months ago due to lack of funds.”

“Oh.  …Well, predate the check, then just say it got lost in the mail.  Damn, I am going to miss those Thin Mints.”

I could see the justification for predating a health insurance policy; then maybe the trip I took to the ER after that trampoline/umbrella accident last week would be covered.  (Never.  Dating.  An acrobat.  Again.)  But predating life insurance is of no use at all to me, because I’m at least 80% sure that in the past two weeks I haven’t died.

Perhaps my insurance company is just really good, and they want to go the extra mile to protect against any unforeseen time-travel related deaths that will have occurred in the last two weeks, but haven’t happened yet (providing we don’t live in a fixed-time universe, in which case said time travelling would have already taken place, and I’d already be dead.)

Perhaps my insurance company is aiming to guard me against any raging Terminators that are due to show up in the past two weeks.  Or men appearing and asking if I know about the Army of the 12 Monkeys.  Without the fine print, I’m only left to assume it’s a very generous clause on their part.

It kind of reminds me of the “double-lifetime warranty” I have on my windows.  I guess that if I become a zombie, any damage my windows suffer in the apocalypse will be covered.  Which is inevitable; windows are the first thing to go in an apocalypse.

Or perhaps the window company covers me in my next incarnation as well:

“Hey!  You!  Stop throwing rocks at my windows!”

“It’s cool, man.  I lived here in my last life.  I literally got you covered.”

I like the coverage I have.  My life insurance gives me peace of mind.  For one thing, should anything happen to me, my family won’t be left with the scads of debt I’ve incurred because I’ve decided to be a writer instead of getting a real job.

And also, should The Doctor land his TARDIS anywhere in the universe, at any point in time, and a fight with a Dalek interrupts the time-space continuum in such a way that my life is blinked out of existence somewhere between May 31 and today, well, it’s good to know I’m covered.

The Upcoming-Has-Been-Happened Zombie Apocalypse


For anyone who doesn’t follow the news, the world ended about six months ago.  At least it was scheduled to.  On the winter solstice of the year 2012 there was a large and unintelligible hubbub regarding the end of the Mayan calendar, some interpretations calling for the end of days (or something to that effect).

Of course everyone had a different way of coping with the coming of the implosion of the world as we know it.  Some prayed.  Some went on spending sprees and engaged in orgies.  Others outfitted themselves with Kevlar suits, strapped AR15s to their backs, and wrapped a belt of hand grenades and flash-bangs around their waists, preparing for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

This, of course, was all in vain.  Not so much because the world didn’t end, but more so because, if I have learned anything from popular culture, you cannot prepare for a zombie apocalypse.  On the one hand, I’ve never seen a zombie movie where they knew ahead of time the zombies would be coming.  But, on the other hand, I can tell you that the guy who comes to the party prepared – the guy who is fitted with the necessary weaponry, the guy who is well-studied in whatever calamities are raining down upon us, the guy with all the necessary training and experience – that guy never wins.  Why?  Because we’re Americans, and we love ourselves an underdog.

Don’t get me wrong – we love ourselves a badass too.  If you were escaping from L.A., or happen to be a Terminator fighting another, better Terminator, or were caught in a game of cat and mouse with Alan Rickman – yes, badass would definitely be the way to go.  But we are talking about zombies, so your prowess as a rugged ex-cop/marine/green-beret playing fast and loose with the rules does not matter here.

The point of this cinematic analysis is that, if you really want to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, fitting yourself for ground warfare is clearly not the right survival tactic.  I have surveyed some relevant zombie survival materials (you know, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, Zombie Strippers…essential texts on the subject) and I have surmised, if you really need to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, these are the three ways that one can:

Your first choice is to go into a coma.  It seems that zombies can’t smell you when you are in a coma, probably because of a diminished activity in brain waves.  This is a sure-fire way to not get eaten.  It also seems that if you happen to wake up from said coma in the middle of a zombie takeover, you are the right kind of ironic hero that will be able to survive, while the mentors you pick up along the way will all die off.  So coma seems like a great choice, you know, providing you can find a way to become comatose without accidentally killing yourself in the process.

Your second choice is to not believe in zombies.  It seems that ignorance is bliss, and, more importantly, idiocy is a survival technique.  The smart guys are a lot like the bad asses we talked about earlier; they can survive for so long, but they are walking on borrowed time.  It seems the purpose of the smart guy, the informed guy, the guy who knows everything there is to know about survival in post-apocalyptic zombiedom – his only purpose in life is to live long enough to impart everything he knows to the guy who waited until his wife got eaten to notice anything odd was happening.

Perhaps, if you are that guy – the guy who knows it all – your best bet is to not share what you know with anyone.  You might live longer.  Providing the coma thing didn’t work.

The last option is to suck it up and realize that you are just not going to be that guy.  The fact of the matter is you are just not going to survive this thing.  A zombie apocalypse means that the world is being overrun by zombies.  And where do zombies come from?  Zombies are just regular people who have been turned into zombies by being bitten by other zombies.  Therefore, the definition of “zombie apocalypse” would suggest that  everyone will eventually become a zombie.  Those are pretty slim odds.  Slim being, like, zero. Your chances of being that guy, that one guy, are so slim they are incalculable.  (Okay, that is hyperbole.  They’re very easily calculable.  But the resultant answer would be so small it would lose all significance.)

Being a person who puts all of her faith in the principles of mathematics, I personally go with this last one; I am well aware that I am not going to survive.  On the other hand, I’m not too crazy about the idea of being eaten by a zombie.  Having blunt, undead teeth gnashed into my skull so my brain can be zombie dinner fodder sounds somewhat unpleasant.

I reconcile this by keeping a cocktail of drugs leftover from my abdominal surgery in the back of my medicine cabinet in a bottle labeled “For the Zombies.”  While I’m not a supporter of suicide, generally speaking, in this lesser-of-two evils scenario, I chose death by sedative drugs over being eaten alive.  Plus it has the added benefit of me not turning into a zombie afterwards.

And, if anything goes wrong, I’ll just end up in a coma – and then I’ll be in pretty good shape indeed.