Sandwiches Are the Future

Growing up, I ate a sandwich almost every day of my life. No joke. Bread, meat, cheese, mayo, pickles, and microwaved for 45 seconds was my favorite lunch. Unlike some people, I like looking forward to this same event in my day. I do enjoy change and the excitement that comes with new things. But following a routine provides more than just consistency; it provides security.

Life is unpredictable, but my sandwich is not. I know it will be delicious because I've eaten thousands like it before. And I would hate not knowing if my lunch was gonna suck or not. I have to know.

For the same reason, I rarely start watching a TV show without first checking it out on Wikipedia. Of course, this means that I mostly watch stuff years later on Netflix. But somehow I feel I can prepare myself to enjoy it better if I know what’s going to happen.

photo credit: @ifatma. via photopin cc
One show that I watched recently was Lost. Now I did end up watching the final season as it aired, but I had Lostpedia sitting on my laptop next to me as I blew through the first five seasons. The story was interesting, the show format creative, and the smoke monster enigmatically creepy. But what really caught my attention was its take on time travel.

In Back to the Future, Marty was always in danger of ruining the future, and most of the Star Trek series touched on the devastating effects of disrupting "the space-time continuum" (yes, I'm a nerd). However, Lost was the first show I'd seen where time travel existed in a completely deterministic framework. The future couldn't be changed. And traveling into the past didn't reset the stage of events; it was already a part of them.

In some ways, it was a very depressing angle to take. Time travel is a fantasy I think we all have because we can not only right the past, we can learn what to avoid in the future. But we don't often ask, "Would we really do things differently if we knew the future?" The answer is a given, right? Yet I can't help feeling more like Jack in this life, than Marty.

Adam and Eve are the classic example. We all think that if we could go back, we'd have made some lovely boots out of that snake. It's as if we're assuming that Adam neglected to mention "the incident" to Cain.

Perhaps a better example would be Peter. Jesus actually told him what he was going to do. And yet Peter denied him three times anyway. Who hasn't read that passage and thought that Peter was a moron? I mean, if you told me that I was going to come home from work and order myself a large pizza despite my two diabetic parents…well, I'd probably still order it.

Not even advance knowledge can change a mind that's set. You can't change the future, but you can change yourself. So the next time you're about to speed dial the pizza place (and I have many set on my phone), go make yourself a sandwich.