The Titanic Sails Again

On the set of James Cameron’s 1997 romantic disaster film Titanic, I presented the beginnings of an alternate script I had worked up overnight. The director looked at it as if it were ridiculous, for which is was, but read it anyway:

A person from 2015 builds his own time machine and sets the date to April 12, 1912, the date of the Titanic’s maiden voyage. Of course, the guy has to look the part, so he researches and looks for clothes from the early 1900s, and is dressed like a dignified Englishman in time to arrive on the dock at Southampton. He even has an authentic ticket produced to reside in first class, for which he certainly is not of, but no one would be able to prove it otherwise.

Narration from the time traveler:

It was one of the most glorious and grandest ships in the world, and in early 1912, I was aboard it. The RMS Titanic, set to embark on a voyage to America. I was to reside in the bottom dorms of the ship, known as steerage, after mistakenly having a third class ticket produced, getting on with just one suitcase and trying to not act too modern (there was a smartphone in my backpocket for taking pictures and maybe wowing the passengers later on).

While walking the deck, I met a friend named Jack Dawson who was an excellent artist. He showed me some of his paintings, including those of women he met in Paris, many of them nude. Instead of waiting for the right moment, I warned him right there that the ship was to sink on its third day. He looked at me in disbelief and laughed and said I was crazy. “What makes you think that?”, he asked. “This is the best ship in the world. It can’t sink!”

“I can assure you that this ship is not built to withstand even a mild collision,” I replied and added, “you all are ignorant of the fact that sailing out on the Atlantic Ocean into the night is as dangerous as ever with communication so far away.”

“You all know that this ship is going to sink?”, Jack later asked during his dinner with Rose and her rich royalty, frightening everyone.

“What makes you think that?”, asked Cal with skepticism. “A friend told me. He says he’s from the future.” Of course, they all looked shocked at this statement.

“From the future? And you believe him?,” Cal said, casting a sideways glance at the person seated next to him, who too couldn’t believe this, his moustache twitching nervously.

“Well, if it means saving all our lives, I would say so.” They all just shrugged and dismissed all of the foolishness Jack said during the rest of the dinner as “hogwash”.

But after notifying the crew, they promptly took my advice to prepare for the worst, even getting a call out to another ship to come to their rescue if needed.

And just as it was to happen, the look out crew spotted the deadly iceberg on the chilly night of the 15th and had enough time to maneuver the ship past it after knowing about it far in advance. They, Jack and Rose, and some of the other passengers, including first class, all looked at me in astonishment. Some thanked me graciously, some patted me on the back, some looked at me as if I was an alien from another world, even if I was dressed like them.

“Is there anything else you know about the future?”, the Captain asked. “Of course. I’m from it,” I said and then added, “You guys really need to learn about Facebook.” And with that, I pulled out my smartphone and took a selfie with me and the Captain together, who looked at the device curiously.

So now the ship has been saved and history changed:

Jack lived and went on to marry Rose in America, raising a family in a Wisconsin log cabin. Cal was thrown in prison for attempting to murder Jack, eventually committing suicide by hanging himself. The Titanic went on a second voyage back to England in 1913, not avoiding the iceberg this time, as fate was angry and sprouted up an array of iceberg blockages. The ship hit one of the blockages head on though and survived the impact, the operators taking my advice to do so. A fire eventually broke out in the boiler-room, damaging but not sinking the ship in 1914. Instead of James Cameron’s movie being about the disaster of the Titanic, it was about a time traveler who goes back to warn the passengers and does the incredible. And about a ship that is cursed and narrowly avoids disaster every time it sails.

“Okay, this sounds great and all, but I’m not producing sci-fi here,” James Cameron said to me. “Please take your script somewhere else, maybe to Joss Whedon or Steven Spielberg.”

And so I did, and way and behold, Spielberg loved it so much (I think he was drinking something) that I worked on the script some more, working it into an official full length script. The movie was produced and was officially named “Back to the Future: Part IV: Saving the Titanic”. Michael J. Fox was even so excited that he agreed to reprise his role as Marty, his illness seeming to be magically cured. Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown even suggested turning the ship into a time machine boat.

And then I woke up. All just a dream.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fourth Wall.”

You get to spend a day inside your favorite movie. Tell us which one it is — and what happens to you while you’re there.

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A Two-Way Mirror of Events

People like me, that have a life desire of pursuing the near infinite answers of the universe, often sit bored on the couch or in front of the computer on Google and think like a philosopher, wondering about the alternative, parallel side of father time, where events in history took a different path. Bizarre scenarios such as one where the United States doesn’t even exist or where humans have built spacecraft in the 1800s and colonized on Mars.

So in the midst of time it is always nice to think…

What if?

This is the type of question that the world begs to know the answer to but, sadly,will probably never find the answer to, unless we can find a Doc Brown who can supe up an old station wagon with a Flux capacitor. Which, to tell you the truth, is not worth the effort. If time travel were possible, wouldn’t it have already been invented, in the future? We should have people from the future in our time right now, telling us of events to come, helping us avoid tragedies. And if they are here, they sure haven’t helped the world much seeing that all of the what ifs we bring up haven’t been reversed,for better or worse. It’s kind of like asking Santa for that toy you’ve always wanted but never getting it at Christmas, even if he does promise you. And let’s be honest, there is no man in a red suit traveling to millions of houses in 140 countries dropping into random peoples houses in the middle of the night to deliver rather expensive presents that are seen on the shelves of Wal-Mart and other stores year round. Even Superman couldn’t do that. Shoot, I just ruined Christmas for a bunch of kids…oh,well…they need to be taught young.

Okay, enough of my ranting. Here are some frequently asked about what if scenarios and my best answers as to what would happen, leading to the present day:  

If the attacks on the twin towers on 9/11/2001 had been avoided…

Pro: About three thousand lives would have been spared and the kids today would still have living family members and friends.

Pro: George W. Bush’s presidency wouldn’t have been remembered as so much of a joke but the man could have been respected and even gotten to speak at the 2012 Republican convention (where he was heavily shied away).

Con: America wouldn’t have beefed up security at airports and elsewhere and wouldn’t have been more prepared and aware against future attacks.

Con: Bin Laden would still be out there, America unaware of his devious plans, probably cooking up something even more destructive seeing that his “master plan” had been defeated.

Con: America would sink into total destruction and nuclear fallout, with severely mutated humans and animals (according to an episode of Family Guy).  

If John F. Kennedy had not been assassinated or Lee Harvey 

Oswald was caught in the act…

Pro: JFK would definitely have been reelected to another term, but…

Con: The Civil Rights Act wouldn’t have been put into action by Lyndon B. Johnson, making it quite tougher for blacks to win the racial movement (and JFK was not for equal rights).

Pro: The Vietnam War might have ended sooner.  

If Abraham Lincoln had cancelled his trip to the Ford theater on that fatal night and was still alive…

Pro: Lincoln would have gone on to teaching as a professor at a college after his presidency.

Pro: He would have likely lived into his 80s.

Pro: As a mentor, Lincoln would have stayed in the White House with his son Robert.  

Con: He would have wanted to ship the slaves back to Africa or to a small remote island, taking an emotional stand for the blacks being his strategy to win the people’s approval all along and to keep the Civil War under control.

If the Titanic had cleared the iceberg and not sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic…

Pro: The passengers, especially the steerage, would have gone onto America to live their hopes and dreams and find good paying jobs

Pro: Many of the well accomplished would have continued in their fields and gotten more fame, such as John Jacob Astor IV. Some of these people could have had fledgling businesses over in America, that might have continued on today

Pro: Perhaps the ship could have been sailed again and could have survived to this day and be put into a museum, fully intact

Pro: I wouldn’t have sat through a pointless 3D version of the film.

Con: Obviously, there wouldn’t have been a movie about the disaster, and we might not have heard of Leonardo DiCaprio for that matter.

If the Challenger space shuttle had not broken apart, and had successfully gone into space…

Pro: The teacher/astronaut Christa McAuliffe would have been celebrated for being the first teacher in space, not mourned for the loss of her.

Pro: NASA would have taken the developmental successes of Challenger and have applied them to future space shuttles

Pro: There wouldn’t have been a 32 month hiatus between missions, maybe allowing for another mission (possibly to the moon again?).

Con: Since there would have been no disaster, NASA wouldn’t have known how to react against possible future failures and wouldn’t have known what works and what doesn’t.

If the Internet existed a long, long time ago (Jesus’ time perhaps?)…

Pro: What we think we know now we would know for certain (If Ben Frankin really did fly a kite in a thunderstorm or if it was Christopher Columbus who first discovered the land that was to be called America.)

Pro: Things could have been done a lot quicker and efficiently, such as searching on Google for how to treat infections (not bleeding them out)

Con: People’s privacy and freedom would have been severely limited, especially back in the days of powerful empires. No one could have hid and the most powerful figures could have controlled and influenced people over the Internet in ways unimaginable for those days.

If dinosaurs had not gone extinct (damn you, meteorites or whatever did it)…

Pro: We could do more research on the dinosaurs and find ways to breed different types, leading to scientific advancements but…

Con: We surely wouldn’t be living like we are now because dinosaurs would have us literally backed up into a corner and…

Con: Other mammals (such as us) couldn’t have evolved and wouldn’t even exist  

If Steve Bartman had kept his hands to himself in 2003…

Pro: The Cubs would have been 4 outs away from the Promise Land.

Con: They would have made it to the World Series against the New York Yankees, but the curse would still have rung true with the Cubs being overwhelming over matched. Yankees win series 4-1 and Bartman is still unknown.

These are basically edumucated guesses, and rather pointless, but it is fun to paint a picture of an alternate history where everything is turned upside down. And until some crazy scientist comes up with a way to travel back in time we will never know for certain whether Galileo was smoking weed while gazing at the stars or if curiosity did kill the cat.

Amateur Tent-Makers

With constant reminders that we, the mix and match bunch from Michigan, will be going away for about seven days to live like village people, I have been wondering just how we are going to survive. Yes, we will have tents and lots of other gear such as bug spray and flashlights but actually living in the great outdoors without the magnetic force of a computer nearby is rare. Sure, I have been camping before, at Mystic Lake in fifth grade, but I got to stay in a nice heated cabin with electricity and a bunk bed, not lying on the ground as a huge thundercloud rages over. There was also a nice bathroom near the cabin that I visited frequently during the night. Where we are going, there won’t be those luxuries, which is a challenge I like and am ready to face. Of course, it is not going to be true wilderness – the place is going to be regulated – but being out there with nature is something a lot of people should invest part of their life in.

A lot of people waste their summer, though, sitting in front of screens playing mindless computer games or banging on plastic toy drums that sound like (censored). Of course, not everyone has a readily accessible pool right near their house that they are not responsible for keeping cleaned and maintained (which becomes such a chore that you feel like giving up and wonder why you bought the damn thing). Our Windham Hills pool is great because it provides a place for the community to cool off and relax after a hard day. It’s open to just about anyone nowadays – the check in/check out list isn’t enforced very well and there isn’t always a hired pool attendant/supervisor down there who even cares. Still, there is some control. Kids that are wild and rambunctious will be told to stop or get kicked out. I find it really annoying when a kid makes a huge cannonball jump in the water and I get the full force of the splash. There is hardly anyone of my age group down there also, since it’s mostly kids who barely know how to count and are still in the early stages of elementary school.

Most of the clan came up to the water hole today as well as the rest of the neighborhood. I like to have room to spread my arms out and do a few laps around the pool but with it looking like the Atlantic Ocean during the aftermath of the Titanic sinking I mostly stick to one spot, near my odd but loving family. Yeah, they are all misfits in their god-given ways and wouldn’t come within twenty feet of Hollywood but my folks are simple, easy to get along with, and live their life without caring what others say about it.

The Nokia girl comes back to my uncle Jack and I and reminds us that the cleaning job she was offering us is still on, albeit strangely. Its seems legit and I have been waiting for a steady paying job for sometime now. Maybe the answer lies with a woman who has a friend nicknamed Goober and swims around in a pink inner tube acting just like a little kid. Business woman…hmmm….I guess anyone can own a business these days. Is this woman serious or just psycho? I’ll see but I’m leaning more towards the latter just to be smart about it.

The sun is hot so sunscreen is a must. I try to once again get that illusive tan and am actually more successful today. Lying on the chaise lounge is relaxing. I am able to wash away my worrisome thoughts and regain focus on things I want to accomplish in my life. And one of them is definitely not getting that stupid bike of mine fixed.

Jack said he had a present for me when I got home from swimming. Like in most cases, I was like “okay, it’s probably something cheap or silly that will probably be gone in a few minutes and I won’t care about it”. But when I popped open Emily’s trunk and saw a medium sized duffel bag, Jack said it was a tent for our camping trip. Well, that’s good. I will not be forced to sleep in the same tent as Charles and mom, which would be a nightmare. We immediately went to getting the tent set up in the yard. It seemed simple at first but then trouble set in. I have never set a tent up before and getting those pesky poles upright to support the tent was difficult but not torture. With a little bit of help from Charles, the bearded man with the know-it-all attitude and technology that could rival the U.S. Government, the tent went up in no time. The result was a 10 by 8 foot tent with enough room for about four to five people, depending on size. Jack and I would have probably been out there longer if it wasn’t for Charles. He helped us fix some mistakes, like the knot in the roof I tied wrong, and gave us advice but I believe I could get the tent up by myself next time. The secret to getting the ruddy thing up was forcing the flexible poles into their foot slots when it felt like they wouldn’t budge anymore. The tent had to be moved left and right and the stakes adjusted in the ground, stretching the tent out.

Of course I wanted to sleep in the tent the first night so that’s exactly what happened, with the addition of Jack. With a few blankets and a small, uncomfortable pillow, along with my phone that I call my extended arm, I made it through my first night under the stars. I have stayed in a tent one other time in my life, up in Cheboygan while on visit to John Wrosch’s sister’s and family’s house. My sisters and I shared it since it was large enough that we didn’t have to sleep right next to each other (which would have been awkward).

It was different back then. I was thirteen and going through the tough sledding of adolescence while going to a school full of hard-knock ghetto kids who would knock you down and make you feel like the most worthless, terrible thing in the world. Now I am twenty-one and free to take on the world as I choose with no one to stand in my way and tell me I cannot do anything.

Okay, I’m being too dramatic. I’m just in a tent outside my house with the ever so talkative, spieling Jack Draffen keeping me company. It’s nice to have someone on my level, though, who I can have a conversation with without them being too overbearing. Jack has always been that way to me, a kind of friend who I can talk to whenever I want without feeling scared. We are probably the biggest goofs when it comes to things like pitching a tent, moving furniture, making a garden, fishing, playing sports, or meeting women. Whatever Jack says I usually listen to and respond with simple answers, even if I am not totally interested. We usually have simple conversations, such as one tonight where he is going on about what we need for our camping trip and the prospect of learning to fish for the first time and if we will even catch anything. He pitches in ideas and I pitch in ideas – like a tandem bicycle working towards the same goal. It’s this kind of bondmanship/team work that makes us a great pair and I would like to see that continue on but I know it will be hard since I want to move on with my life and Jack won’t be here forever. He was actually the first person that I felt comfortable having a good conversation with. Before him, I was usually confined to a shell, occasionally saying a few hellos or asking a question. I have really opened up since then and am better at conversing with anyone in general. I don’t mind Jack stating the obvious, the fact that with every piece of new technology he encounters he needs my expertise to show him how to use it, or that he needs help spelling any word in the English language longer than 4 letters. He has his quirks, like naming objects such as his radio (Chauncey) and his newer radio (Chauncey Jr.). He’s had some of the same problems as I’ve had in life – being trapped in a lonely box with no way out and no one who understands how to help you. Thankfully I got help and found a way out, and it’s been a struggle or failures and successes. From my first day of school to now being an amateur tent-maker I have learned the ropes and have experienced life. There is still a long road unwinding for me and where it takes me I will soon find out. Only I can decide that. Right now though, I am lying on the floor of a tent, listening to the wind and rain pattering the roof, the cars rumbling by, and the sound of water dripping and splattering into the mud pit we call a garden.

our mud pit is not exactly like this but close