Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Show "Life on Mars": How Would I Handle Something Like That?

ABC television debuted a show called "Life on Mars" which probably won't be around too long because it's over the heads of a lot of people. The story is that NYPD Detective Sam Tyler gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. He's still a cop but everything else is different. The series also stars Harvey Keitel and Michael Imperioli and has a great supporting cast and cool music. The show itself is a solid police drama but it has it's fun side as Sam has to adjust to the world of 1973 New York City.

I have always loved the idea of time travel. Mostly going backward in time to witness events like the Constitutional Convention, Gettysburg, the JFK Assassination, Titanic and other events in history. Then sometimes I wonder what if I did go backwards in time somehow? How would I cope in what has to akin to living in an alien world? I was born in the mid-1960s so going back to the 30s,40s or 1950s wouldn't be too much of a stretch but what about the 1840s? The shoes must have been uncomfortable and the clothes scratchy. People smelled bad because they bathed once a week - MAYBE. Work for a nickle a day? .25 cents if I was college educated? Mattresses were mats stuffed with straw on a rope frame, which would suck if my oil lantern ignites.

Oh, and crapping in a chamber pot that I either keep under my bed or in a night stand next to my bed. I have an image of Mary Todd Lincoln getting up in the dead of night in the White House and pulling the chamber pot from her side of the bed and curling a long one out and then placing it back inside the nightstand and going back to sleep. Yeah, I can't even stand to think about it let alone living that life.

Then there are the diseases like Small Pox, Measles and Polio. What if I get sick? 1840s medical care makes the back of the average ambulance look like the Mayo Clinic. There's a lot of things to think about if time travel ever becomes a reality. I think that depending on the year I would be equally lost in the past as I would if I were to go 150 into the future.

Heck, think about life in 1960...

You had to walk into the bank to withdraw cash and the bank opened at 9:00am and closed at 5:00pm (banker's hours). Few people wrote check fewer businesses took the two credit cards that were available (Master Charge and Diner's Club). Gas was cheap but your car didn't have seatbelts. Sneakers were not worn in nice restaurants and everyone wore a tie on a work day. TV was black and white and your music was played on a record player with one speaker. The television networks signed off at midnight, usually to the national anthem. Smoking was allowed just about everywhere. You had a lot of restrictions that you do not have in 2008.

Time travel still sounds fun just as long as it's not too far backwards and I can return to the present when I want to.