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 Case for Killing Grandma


Killing is Wrong.

Unless of course some wacko breaks into your house in the middle of the day, wearing nothing but a ten-gallon hat and a pair of flip-flops.  Then you pop a cap in that nutjob, before he gets to your Labrador and starts doing unspeakably inappropriate things.

Or unless someone assaults you in the mall parking lot, and you “accidentally” hit them in the temple with a jagged brick.  Cause that’s self defense.

And you know, I mean, who wouldn’t kill Hitler, if given the chance?

The point is, it is universally recognized that sometimes taking the life of another human can be justified.  Sometimes it may even be lauded.  So, in a system where the taking of a human life is only criminal in a case by case basis, I want to know why I can’t kill my Grandma.

My grandmother is ninety-seven years old.  Her mind is sharp – sharp enough to know it’s not as sharp as it used to be.  Her only passions are painting and reading, which of course she can’t do because of arthritis and near-blindness.

Her husband is dead.  Her sisters are dead.  Her friends are dead.  Everyone she cares about is dead.  (I know, you’re all “But K. Jean King, she still has you!”  Yeah.  She doesn’t care.  …Love you too, Grandma.)

So all she is left with is eighteen waking hours a day to sit around on her memory-foam donut-cushion and “pray for the good lord to take her.”  Every moment of her life is torture because she is literally being tortured by life.

My question is, if she wants to die, and all of those who love her agree she would be happier dead, why can’t we kill her?

Let’s call it a living will.  Usually a person draws up a living will so that their family has explicit, legally-binding instructions, should that person become a bed-laden cucumber being kept alive only by mechanical assistance.  The idea is that no one should have to be kept alive against their will.  I suggest this qualifies, with the minor difference being that, instead of being kept alive artificially by machines, she’s being kept alive by some cruel, cosmic joke.

Or maybe we could call it a kind of preemptive last will and testament.  A person draws up a will in order to ensure that their affairs are properly handled by their loved ones after they die – that everything is distributed and handled the way they want.  What about an addendum saying, “I would like Brenda to get my antique bedroom set, and also dose me in case I haven’t achieved natural death by age eighty-eight.”

Then, of course, there is always suicide by proxy:

“Oh, I heard that Agnus committed suicide.  That’s terrible.  What did she use to do it?”

“The sympathies of her family.”

People frequently say that killing is the worst crime.  I am always inclined to disagree.  I’ve never heard of a “justifiable rape.”  Nor have I ever heard the claim, “He staged that cockfight in self-defense.”

I don’t know when the Old Lady is finally going to kick the proverbial bucket.  All I do know is that every time I visit her, surrounded by the paintings she can no longer paint, and the books she can no longer read, and the pictures of those who she wishes to meet in heaven, it feels like cruel and unusual punishment.

And that is in violation of the 8th amendment of the Constitution.  Just sayin’.