As you know, here in the 21st century, it is possible to bend time. It’s a tricky business, best left to the professionals, but when no professional is available then you have to do it personally.
Thus, at our house last Sunday we made up a plan. There was my wife and I, my wife’s Aunt Louise, and Aunt Louise’s grown son and daughter-in-law from Knoxville. The matter at hand was dinner and two football games. Everyone there was interested in dinner. Everyone except Louise’s daughter-in-law was interested in the football games. Louise’s daughter-in-law in the event slept sitting up facing the TV through the games.
I, on the other hand, as the man of the house, had the remote.
Here was the plan for the reality bending. Since we’d be out all afternoon, I would set to record at 1 p.m. the Houston Texans playing the Baltimore Ravens, which would be over at four. I would also record the Giants versus Green Bay game, which began at 4:30 p.m. This is the one we were particularly interested in. We’d watch the first half beginning at six, then break for dinner at halftime, then, with both games long concluded, watch the last half of the Giants-Green Bay game and then, if we had time or interest, watch the earlier game.
Of course, during this time watching football, since we were bending time, we would accept no phone calls or look for no information about what happened at the games in those days of yore when they actually took place. Racing through altered time like this requires close concentration to not be able to find out what happened.
We began. Myself, Louise’s son Jim and daughter-in-law Kathy arranged ourselves on the couch. My wife and Aunt Louise sat in club chairs on either side. We were watching high-def on a 48-inch Samsung screen. The best, though no 3D. And I had the remote.
I turned on the TV and we successfully watched the first half of the Giants-Green Bay game, which seemed to indicate this was going to be a very close contest. The score was 20-10 Giants, at halftime. We woke up the daughter-in-law and had dinner in the dining room.
At eight, we were back in our seats. The second half had begun. The game was getting very interesting. Green Bay, which had won 15 of their 16 games during the regular season, was clearly the better, more well-oiled team, especially with their sensational quarterback Aaron Rogers. But the underdog Giants kept muscling their way to stay in the game. They caused and recovered fumbles, they sacked the quarterback, they wrestled the ball out of the hands of Green Bay receivers. What a game.
As the game slipped into the fourth quarter, however, I made what appeared to be a dreadful mistake. Only three hours are set aside in the program for these games. You can record them, but you must also remember to record the programs that come after the game because often the games can go as long as four and a half hours and the network will pre-empt all the programming if it does. And I know this. So, for the time warp, I smartly recorded “Post Game Report” and “60 Minutes” and “Bugs Bunny Special” and whatever else I thought we might need to actually see the end of the game.
What happened was this. At 8:30 p.m., the screen froze. A message said DO YOU WANT TO DELETE? It was only the beginning of the fourth quarter. I knew what this meant. It meant that in the recorded time, the three hours were up. I’d have to find the segment “Post Game Report” and start that. I pressed Delete to get rid of the three hours, then pressed various other buttons and all hell broke loose.
Three TV sports commentators were sitting at a desk facing us. “Well, that was quite a game,” one of them was saying. Below them, in big letters, was the score.
“It’s over, it’s over!” screamed Aunt Louise’s son Jim.
“Nobody look!” my wife shouted. “Hide your eyes.”
“Oh my God!” I shouted, pressing buttons on the remote at random. Nothing changed.
Aunt Louise’s daughter-in-law leaped up. “What’s happening! What’s happening!”
“Get in front of the TV!” her husband shouted. And so she did, facing us, her arms outstretched so we couldn’t see.
“Do something, do something!” Aunt Louise shouted.
“I’m trying,” I said.
“I didn’t see it!” Jim shouted. “Did you see it?”
“No. I didn’t see it,” my wife said.
The commentators were talking.
“Everybody HUM!” Jim shouted. The commentators would be telling us the score again soon. We all began to hum loud to drown out whatever they were saying. We put our hands over our eyes. I pressed more buttons. The volume got louder. Then, suddenly, the remote turned the TV off.
“What the hell!” I shouted.
“All right, all right,” Jim said. “Let’s start over. Start from scratch. Did anybody see the final score?”
“I didn’t see it,” I said.
“I didn’t see it,” Aunt Louise said.
“Can I put my arms down?” daughter-in-law said.
“Well, I DID see it,” my wife said.
“Then you have to leave the room,” Jim said.
“She’s not leaving the room,” I said.
“I promise to not say a word,” my wife said.
And so she stayed. And she kept her promise. She of course could not know that the Giants would win because of an incredible Hail Mary pass that Eli Manning threw midway through the fourth quarter. All of which we saw because after getting over my panic (and refusing to give up the remote to Jim) I was able to lead us to it because as a matter of fact, “Post Game Report” was easy to find. All the games were over. The world was back in harmony, in the same time zone. Or something.
I write this story as a cautionary tale to readers. Perhaps you have experienced something like this. Perhaps not. But if not, you will. It all comes down to this. Going to bend time? Get a professional.