Time Machine


Contributing Editor, Walter Pickut

In 1985, Michael J. Fox starred in the box-office hit, sci ence- f i c tion film Back to the Future. Fox played teenager Marty McFly. Things got strange when Marty accidentally traveled back in time from 1985 to 1955.

Marty’s trip took off in the plutonium-powered, time-traveling DeLorean automobile created by his friend, the mad scientist Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown. It was great fun when Marty found out how messing with the past could scramble everybody’s future. 

Just suppose somebody really did invent a time machine, and you could get your hands on the thing – but just one time! The first thing you would have to figure out is whether you would go back in time or forward into the future. 

Science fiction fans love the bizarre paradoxes that arise from going back in time to “fix” things. 

Suppose you went back and shot a bank robber. Then you found out he was your grandpa. If you did that, you would never have been born. You could not have shot him. So, then you would be alive today and you could try again, but then you would not be alive today – again! Time travel into the past ties great big knots in history. In Back to the Future Marty Fly almost marries his own mother! Don’t even try to figure that one out. 

On the other hand, an ancient Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.” One of today’s richest men, Warren Buffett, adds, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” 

With that in mind, this week’s Jamestown Gazette invites you to remember our heroes of the past who helped create our today – safer, more secure, and free to create the tomorrows we want. Our cover story, submitted this week by Jamestown’s Fenton History Center, is helping us to celebrate Veteran’s day, Monday, November 11, 2019. 

So, what would you do with your one trip in a time machine? I suggest you travel into our future. 

Believe it or not, we have a real time machine today and we have all are invited to ride in it. 

Our time machine has a name: it is called Election Day. It can take us to the future we want, if we use it wisely. Future-builders have names, too. They are called both Soldiers and Voters. 

So, as you can see, Veterans Day and Election Day naturally belong together. 

Dan Simmons, an award-winning science fiction writer, simply says: “In seconds of decision entire futures are made.” That is true whether on battlefields or in election booths. 

This election day – whether you vote early or on Election Day itself, Tuesday, November 5 – you and I will create a future we will travel into together. After all, the future has a way of showing up anyway, so let’s make our “seconds of decision” count in creating our future. 

“The future calls forth the present,” says philosopher Werner Erhard. Once we have determined our future, all we have to do is travel into it one day at a time, doing what it takes with the co-workers we elect to make it happen. 

So, this week’s Jamestown Gazette celebrates the future-builders called veterans. They all fought, some were wounded, and some died to create the future we live in today. 

In that way, today was built by a past we cannot revisit or change, but we must remember. Our veterans have earned our respect. One such vet – well known in the greater Jamestown area for his tireless support of other veterans and his donation of American flags to hundreds of local schools, churches, and civic organizations – is Sgt. Peter L. Carlo, a disabled veteran of the Korean Conflict and past Commander of the DAV. 

He has submitted a plan to create a tangible remembrance of our local veterans. The Jamestown Gazette invites you to read and consider supporting Pete’s plan. And please add your gratitude to Pete’s for the Jamestown Town Council’s vote in support for his proposal. Please see Sgt. Carlo’s Letter to the Editor on page 14 for full details. 

Enjoy the read. 

Walt Pickut