My first experience with time travel

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:

Right after he asked me the question, a cold chill ran from my neck all the way down my spine. I felt scared and excited in a way I haven’t felt since I tried sashimi for the first time. Heck, I wasn’t even that scared or excited then either.

My friend looked at me expectantly, waiting for me to answer his question. Visions of Star Wars flashed across my inner vision, stormtroopers and giant robots and little furry Ewoks shooting at each other with blasters, getting hit with horizontal lines of red light and dying left and right. And then, after a moment, I thought, “That sounds like fun.”

So I answered him: “Yes, let’s go play laser tag.” And that’s when I realized my life in the present had abruptly turned into the world of the future.

* * *

From friends and colleagues I’ve spoken to, it seems everyone has one of these experiences: one day you see or experience something that up until then you thought only existed in science fiction, and you feel like you’ve suddenly been tossed like a shot-put, landing 50 years ahead of the current year on the space-time continuum.

For me, that experience has happened several times, but the first, and therefore the one I remember most clearly, was when I discovered we could actually play tag with laser guns, all for only $20 per half hour. Even the name of the laser tag arena, Q-Zar, sounded like some kind of futuristic alien palace.

Everything about the game felt more like going to battle on Mars in the year 2078 than shooting light at nerds who didn’t have dates on a Saturday night. From the team briefing at the beginning to the mission of destroying the other team’s base, I felt caught in a war that wasn’t begun by me and wouldn’t end with my lasered demise. And when those 30 minutes of gut-twisting excitement and anxiety were over, we turned in our guns and vests and ended our tour of duty, but there was now an unspoken camaraderie between we few, we band of brothers.

Since my first laser tag experience, I’ve had a few other occasions where I felt sure the future had arrived: my discovery of the Internet, Y2K, and the first time I saw The Matrix. None of these have effected me as much as my first brush with the future: laser tag.
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