Back To The Present



The discussion was brought on by watching a Christmastime episode of Dora The Explorer. Dora has a monkey sidekick named Boots and a nemesis named Swiper. Swiper is a masked fox who, well, swipes stuff. You can help Dora prevent Swiper from swiping by holding up your hand in a “stop” motion and saying, “Swiper, no swiping.” You have to repeat this three times. Swiper then says, “Oh, man!” and walks away dejectedly.

In this Christmas episode, Swiper is swiping presents and ruining the Christmas party. Santa sweeps in in his sleigh to explain Swiper’s fall from grace and the price of redemption. Then in the theme of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, Dora, Boots, and Swiper do some time-traveling to see Swipper in the past and in a bleak, lonely, heart-wrenching future. Their time-travel is accomplished by shaking their travel capes, given to them by a grumpy old troll who lives under a bridge (of course). We get to travel along on the adventure by shaking our imaginary travel capes, and singing the little song: “Shake, shake shake. Shake your travel cape.”

While we were “shaking our capes” Karlee asked me, “Pops, if you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future.” “I’m not sure.” I replied, honestly. “How about you?” I asked.

She thought so hard, you could almost see, hear, and smell her gears turning. “I’m good with the present.” she finally decided.

I explained to her that that is a very smart choice. In fact it was what Jesus told his followers they should do.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34. The Message.

More 6-year old gears turning. Then she smiled and said, “Cool”, and we continued watching to see if Dora could help her friend Swiper put his charater flaw on hold through the Christmas Season.

Spoiler alert: The episode ends happily. Swiper repents and the party goes on.

It’s been three weeks since my last post here at About Pops. It hasn’t been writer’s block, so much as it’s been too much thinking about the past and about the future. Some personal stuff, no one cares to hear about, is at the core of it all; I think. It must be in our human nature to do that. Why else would Jesus use some of his red letters to encourage us not to?

But, if you could shake your travel cape, which direction would you go: past or future or both? I think I would go back. Not so much because I would like to change things or because I didn’t enjoy it, but maybe because I enjoyed it so much. Without a doubt I would look some people up and tell them I am sorry that I was, so many times, a self-absorbed jerk. I think I would pay more attention, listen more carefully, use people less, but who knows.

Contemplating the future paralyzes me. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I used to write occasionally about my dream to own an Airstream Travel Trailer. While an Airstream is no travel cape, there is a mystique about them and the travel I imagine that has a grip on me. 

People who know me tend to make fun of the way I’ve obssessed over the idea of owning one, but can never take the big step. The uncertainty of the future scares me into inaction. Not just with buying an Airstream but a lot of things.

Let’s take the Airstream for example. I watch the classified ads for Airstreams religiously. At least once a month you’ll see an ad that basically says, “We used the trailer once but now major health issues prevent us from using it.”

Is there some correlation between buying an RV and having a catastrophic malady? Or, worse yet, what if I buy the thing and then “buy the farm”? Now my Amazing-Missus is stuck not only with my ukulelee and my Vespa, but with an Airstream as well.

[Shake the cape] Conclusion: if they were handing out tickets to the wormhole, I think I would pass, because in the wise words of a 6-year old, “I’m good with the present.” (For now.)