My Dear Wife Denise:
I think it’s finally time we started talking about what to do if I accidentally travel through time. I know some people (e.g. your sister), think I’m crazy because time travel hasn’t been invented. But if one of us travels through time and we haven’t had this conversation I think we are gonna feel pretty silly, right?
1. If I travel back in time, we need to have a code word to indicate to the other person that I have indeed traveled through time. Our code word will be “arugula.” DON’T TELL ANYONE THE CODE WORD! NOT EVEN YOUR SISTER! When I say “arugula,” I’ll flap my arms like a bird. If I just say “arugula” and do not flap my arms like a bird, I’m probably just talking about salad, so DO NOT assume that I have traveled through time. If I just flap my arms like a bird but do not say “arugula,” then just assume I’m demonstrating how a bird flies or referencing Angels in the Outfield and DO NOT presume that I have traveled through time.
2. I suppose it’s possible that I will flap my arms like a bird and say “arugula” and I have not actually traveled through time. This may be because this is a drill and I am just ensuring we are prepared in case that I do travel through time. If it is a drill, I will indicate this flapping my arms like a bird, saying “arugula,” AND doing the splits. I know I can’t do the splits, ok? You and your sister don’t have to keep reminding me about that. But I’m gonna practice a lot and I’ll definitely be able to do them.
3. If I’m flapping my arms like a bird and saying “arugula” and trying to do the splits but not quite getting them, then it is possible I haven’t traveled back in time but I have also not learned to do the splits yet and I am just practicing the splits because they are hard. In that case, I will say “escarole” instead of “arugula.” Then you’ll know that I have not traveled through time and this is a drill. Yes, I know what escarole is now. I’m sorry about that time I kept asking your sister if her salad was made out of French slugs. But you didn’t have to storm out of that California Pizza Kitchen and leave me and your sister alone, ok?
4. It is also possible that I’ll need to travel back in time and talk to you at a point before we even had this conversation. In that case, you wouldn’t yet have known about this conversation and then you wouldn’t know that when I flapped my arms like a bird and said “arugula” it meant that I had traveled through time. In that event, I will tell you about that time you shit your pants on the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland when you were 7. I don’t think you’ve told anyone else that story except your sister (we text about this story a lot lol). So if an adult man with a mildly droopy lip comes and tells you that story you would know that this is probably time travel.
5. I guess I could see that if someone came up to you and told you a story about the time you shit your pants on the Jungle Cruise, you may think they were an employee on the Jungle Cruise who recognized you from when you were 7 and you shit your pants on the ride. You would probably test this theory by asking questions about the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. For this reason, I have deliberately not read anything about the Jungle Cruise. So if you meet someone who tells you the story about the time when you were 7 and you shit your pants on the Jungle Cruise and then you ask them follow-up questions about their experience on the Jungle Cruise and they can answer in detail, then you know the person is not me who has traveled through time and probably is just an employee who saw you shit your pants on the Jungle Cruise when you were 7.
6. I’ve thought a lot about this and I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t get mad if I travel back in time and sleep with your sister before I even met you. To be clear, I would know who you are, BUT I’d travel through time to a time before you knew who I was. Thus, this version of you would not know that I know you and you would have no grounds to get mad at me for sleeping with your sister, ok?
7. If when I travel through time, and I see Hitler, I should probably kill him. If I can’t kill him, I will befriend him and then take him on a road trip where I will convince him not to do the Holocaust. I understand that by befriending Hitler on a road trip and then talking him out of the Holocaust, and/or killing him could create some sort of butterfly effect/time paradox that leads to you and I never meeting. So if you’re reading this letter right now, and you’re like, who’s Mark, then I probably killed Hitler and we don’t know each other. Also if you don’t know who Hitler is, I probably killed him before you knew him. That’s a good thing, believe me. In exchange for killing Hitler, I think I should be allowed to sleep with your sister.
P.S. If you do know who I am, and who Hitler is please forget all the stuff I said about your sister. I was joking. Hitler made me do it.