What if they…? (The Gas Effect.)

Posted on March 27, 2009Filed Under Pain., Simpsons, Stories of Seventh Grade | Leave a Comment

The hand is better. I’m not The Craw any more. (I hope the vintage Get Smart reference doesn’t date me too much.) It’s not all the way better, I still don’t have use of my most important finger for bicycling in traffic, and I still can’t actually pick up much of anything with it, but I can sort of type again. Thursday, the Doc in the Box guy pulled an inch-long palm frond spike out of the back of my hand. It went in from (my) palm side. On Sunday. Now I have to go back every day for him to root around in the hole he dug, cleaning it up. Anyway, I think I have enough feeling back that I can tell you about this one.

We finished Charlotte, and we’re on to my second favorite (obviously this blog’s namesake is #1) part of the year, the Ray Bradbury section. I love blowing their minds. I always start with the classic, “A Sound of Thunder.” As I  tell the kids, this is probably the most ripped-off time travel story of all time. You know, that’s where that silly movie, The Butterfly Effect,  got its name? They made a straight to video version of ASOT, but I think it sort of begins where the story ends. And is sort of lame. Even The Simpsons did a parody of it. (We watched it today. Within the 7 1/2 minutes they also parody/reference 1984, A Clockwork Orange, Carlos Casteneda, lobotomies, and 15 other things we could discuss at length.)

I like to start by talking about paradoxes.

“I am lying.”

“What?”

“Can you tell me if that’s a true statement or not?”

“What?”

“If that statement is the truth, then I am lying.”

“Duh.”

“But if I am lying, then that statement cannot be the truth.”

“Wait…”

“So that means, I’m lying…”

“Wait…”

“Which means that I was telling the truth when I said I was lying.”

“Hold on just a minute here.” (One of them actually said that.)

I also bust a little Moebius on them. How can something only have one side? Then when I cut it in half and it gets twice as long, they sort of flip. And the ant picture really gets ’em going.

“All the ants are on the same side.”

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

“They are not.”

“Look.”

“Wait.”

Then we get into the time travel paradoxes.

The old, what if you went back and accidentally killed your mother before you were born? Or just somehow made it so you couldn’t be born? What would happen?

“You’d just disappear.”

“So how did you go back in time to do that if you never existed in the first place?”

“OMG Stop it.”

Then we start reading the story, and Travis’s explanation for  why they can’t step off the path. He also talks about how they are wearing oxygen helmets so they don’t introduce their bacteria into the anicent atmosphere. (In the Simpsons episode, Homer sneezes on a T-Rex, and it draws back, sniffles, sneezes, and drops dead. Then all the dinos start sneezing and dropping like dominoes, until they’re all dead. “Homer says, “This is gonna cost me.”)

This starts some speculation.

“What if they gave the dinosaurs chicken pox?”

But the other half of my dynamic duo, Cheese, is still thinking about the oxygen helmets. He thinks he sees a flaw in their thinking.

“But what if they farted?”

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