It recently dawned on me that in the future, intellectuals will study Hollywood movies in the same way that they study old literature. Pretentious grad students with pony tails will sip away at their coffee mugs as they argue about which “Big Momma’s House 2” character best embodies the moral ambiguities of ancient capitalist America. These future students will receive fancy degrees for writing dissertations on such important topics as “The Surrealist Works of Chevy Chase,” “Post-Modern Pauly Shore” and “Stallonean Pacifism.”
It sounds absurd, but it’s a realistic possibility. We don’t know which elements of our culture will be deemed worthy of study by future generations. If they base their decisions on popularity, then they’ll worship movie stars. Confused young adults will linger on busy street corners, handing out free booklets entitled: “Spiritual Salvation Through Lindsay Lohan.” Lavish churches will be built in honor of Dean Martin and Danny Glover.
I find these ideas deeply disturbing. I don’t want our successors to think pop culture products are our most important cultural exports, so I recently decided to take a stand. I decided to travel forward in time and personally ensure that future humans receive a proper education in 21st century culture.
My mission began with the purchase of an important 1980s historical document called “Back to the Future.” This documentary chronicles the adventures of Marty McFly, a 1980s time traveler whose brazen ways nearly resulted in permanent damage to the space-time continuum. McFly’s recklessness put the world at risk, but we can still learn some important lessons from his turbulent life. We can learn that if you want to travel through time, then you need a nice car and a zany mad scientist.
With this lesson in mind, I began searching for an appropriate time-traveling vehicle. I soon located a used Geo Metro with automatic windows, performance steering and a wicked spoiler. It wasn’t very powerful and it didn’t look quite as cool as Doc Brown’s DeLorean, but it did get great gas mileage.
The next step was to find a scientist who could build a functional flux capacitor. I proposed my project to a few of UCSB’s top physics professors, but these bumbling fools were completely unwilling to participate. I decided that my best bet was to roam the streets in search of freelance geniuses. Sure enough, I soon stumbled across a disheveled madman with an unparalleled intellect.
This raggedy old transient looked like he hadn’t showered in years, but his ideas were fresh and clean. I sat for hours, completely enthralled as I listened to him spout his groundbreaking philosophy: “The first animal ate the vegetable, the first vegetable ate the mineral.” Finally, I gathered my courage and asked him if he’d be willing to work on my project. He said, “The first animal ate the vegetable, ate the mineral, ate the vegetable.” I took it as a yes and invited him back to my lair.
Unfortunately, the kooky old bum didn’t help me much. He just stood around my apartment, reeking of sour urine as I struggled to assemble the flux capacitor. I quickly grew impatient and decided that the flux capacitor probably wasn’t all that important anyway. With my eyes set on the future, I hopped into my Metro and hit the streets. All I had to do was reach 88 mph, and the car would launch me into the year 3056.
I pressed my foot against the gas pedal, my heart racing as the engine roared. I hit 40 miles per hour. Then 50. Then 60. Then 70. Then 70. Then 68. Then I realized that the Metro’s top speed was a mere 71 mph. I had blown my life’s savings on a car that couldn’t even go fast enough to jump into the next millennium.
Now I’m sitting here, totally broke, with a crazy old hobo sleeping on my floor. One of these days, I’m going to invent a real time machine so I can go back into the past and fix all of my mistakes. Until then, I’m going to sit on the couch and watch movies starring Chevy Chase. Chevy Chase is a god.
Daily Nexus columnist Nick Pasto tried inventing a hoverboard, but his attempt at riding his roommate’s longboard without wheels down the Del Playa cliffs proved a tad hazardous.