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It took confronting a rabid pit bull in middle school to understand the awesomeness of superpowers and how not having them sucks when you’re in a bind.
Imagine staring down a beast foaming at the mouth, not knowing if it would chase you down and infect you with an insidious disease that drives you mad until you succumb to a horrible death. Fortunately, in this case, the only superpower I needed was patience to wait for animal control.
But all superpowers aren’t created equal. With all due respect to Scientologists’ who revere powers like auditing and the ability to hold one’s need to use the restroom, time travel is in a league of its own.
I don't mean the limited power depicted in most fiction. I'm talking about time travel that avoids the nonsense of the paradox and encompasses slowing time, freezing time, looping time, and moving backward and forward through time at will.
And don’t let some content editor block you with a mysterious force that prevents you from changing too much just because he thinks it’s bad fiction or gives the protagonist too much power. It’s all or nothing, baby. Yes, it’s totally awesome, and you know it. In case you’re not convinced, try these reasons on for size.
Kill Hitler (or Any Other Ruthless Dictator) and See What Happens
Screw the consequences. And don’t tell me Hitler made the world a better place for some sick, twisted reason. Yes, the world would be totally different, but I’d bet it would be a very interesting and good different. Why not find out?
Cream the Kid Who Picked on You in School
If you’ve ever been bullied, you’ll appreciate this one. A few time loops will make you poetic with your jabs and punches, or you could just have a little fun and put them in an awkward position when time resumes at normal speed.
Ace Any Test
If you can’t get an A with the ultimate cheat sheet, it’s time to move on.
Try Out Different Lines on a Prospective Date Until One Works
50 First Dates comes to mind, as does Groundhog Day (my personal favorite). But there’s so much to work with. Who wouldn’t want to know the most beautiful thing to say to that perfect person they’ve always wanted to impress?
Make a Ton of Cash
It’s so obvious, yet so many time travel stories don’t bother to make the most of this storyline. If you controlled time, how would you make a ton of cash? So many possibilities here:
Win the lottery, a hand at poker, or name your gambling vice. Play the stock market. Invest in real estate. Discover hidden loot, buried trinkets, lost relics, and sunken ships. The list is endless.
Invent Gadgets From the Future
Another personal favorite, but I digress. Why not accelerate things a bit? For the environmentally conscious, here’s an excellent way to make alternative energy a cheap efficient reality. Or invent a way to upload information to your brain. While you’re at it, throw in a holodeck and some replicators.
Save Books From the Library of Alexandria (Then Read Them All)
Bibliophiles rejoice! Even lovers of poetry and literary fiction should jump on the sci-fi bandwagon for this one, seriously! You'll need to bring a translator, or at least a souped up version of Google Translate. The payoff would be enormous.
Rip Mega Hits From the Future
You may not sound as good, but then again, talent is overrated. It’s not stealing if it hasn’t been invented yet, so ignore the naysayers who complain about the ethics. If it’s fame you desire, this option is a must.
Find out if Your Significant Other is a Cheater
If you have suspicions, they probably are. But if you’ve just started dating, save yourself the headaches and skip ahead.
Buy the Perfect Gift
If you’ve found that perfect love, you know finding the perfect gift can be equally as hard. Those initial facial expressions don’t lie.
See What Happens to Your Kids
For maximum impact, foresight is necessary. Maybe your kid should study art. Find out now if that safe career path makes them miserable or that speed takes them to the Olympics or prison.
Prevent the Death of Millions Before Natural Disasters
Even time travel stories constrained by the paradox should jump on this one. The butterfly effect may change most things, but natural disasters will outlast most storms of change. What could be better than saving thousands of lives from earthquakes and tsunamis?
Get the Appreciation you Know you Deserve
It's okay to indulge every once in a while. Who wouldn't want to know what those accolades from your boss, friends, or significant other will look like? It will save a heck of a lot of time if you discover you need to move on. Just make sure your clicker doesn't share the same memory feature as Adam Sandler's.
Change the Outcome of Elections
Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Tory, or Liberal, I’m sure there’ve been winners you’d like to see get crushed. Time travel takes opponent research to the next level. Have fun with it.
Visit Your Own funeral
Avoiding death is obvious, but a more practical reason is discovering who attends your funeral. Don’t waste any more time caring what people think if they don’t bother to show up. Life’s too short.
Visit the End of Civilization (if it Ever Comes)
Call me an optimist. I’m still planning on hopping into a cryo chamber by the Alcor Life Extension Foundation and hitching a ride to the future. Therapeutic cloning, gene modification, and singularity may extend life well beyond the realms of modern science.
If we’ve survived this long, what’s a few more billion years? Yes, maybe we’ll all look like Lady Cassandra from Doctor Who, but I think mankind will survive longer than most envision, Skynet be damned.
Visit the Death of the Universe
Our universe will eventually die. Everything down to the subatomic particles will be ripped apart as the expansion of the universe throttles at breakneck speeds. It may be boring to watch, but why not?
Prevent the Death of the Universe
If you can visit, why not stop it? You could do it the hard way by changing the laws of physics, like the Q in Star Trek TNG. Or, you could do it the “easy” way by creating a stable wormhole to a parallel universe and hitching a ride.
Accelerate the Progress of Scientific Theories
Don’t know how to make a stable wormhole? No worries! A few hundred thousand time loops will do the trick, or you could just jump a century or two in the future and read the Cliff notes version.
Prove Once and for all What Happened in the Beginning of Time
After you’ve visited the end, take a trip to the beginning.
Hang Out With Jesus
I’m sure hanging out with JC would be a lot cooler than most people realize. Besides, good friends are hard to come by.
Empty Your Netflix Queue
I saved the best for last. I remember when this didn’t take that long, but since the advent of original content and A+ acquisitions, there’s never enough screen time.