It’s funny. I had something akin to this experience in college, except that there was no shooting or running around, or anything of the sort.
I worked at the Subway on Prince in Athens, Georgia, when my future self appeared in the shop and ordered a Cold Cut Trio (TM). He looked bored. It inspired no emotion in him when he looked me in the eye and asked for extra mayonnaise. I was all “Hey, future self, what the fuck, man?” And he was all “Hold the lettuce.” I tried to ask him about the next few years, but he waved me off. He looked tired.
Finally, before I would give him the sandwich, I asked him what he was here for. He said “business.” It wasn’t ominous or anything. I think he had a desk job that occasionally brought him to town. I dropped out of school after that. What was the point?
Way to go, Tecosky. You let Sandwich-Self shatter your dreams without even bothering to ask to see him naked or whether it actually matters if you quit smoking. When my future self rolled in town covered in head tattoos and ostentatiously un-fashionable Pharaoh robes, I at least asked her if her hair was still naturally red or if she was dying it these days, and whether or not she was still on Zoloft. Turns out yes, and yes, and the Apocalypse is completely inconvenient if you’re also super depressed, so start hording your SSRIs. Great advice all around. I also noticed that some day my position on fake tits being disgusting will change, which is my right as a feminist, and also someone who historically doesn’t give very many fucks one way or another when it comes to taking moral stances.
Might I also mention that the Dufus McGoofus from 3rd Rock from the Sun has terrible instincts: when you realize that someday you become Die Hard and that you’re a bald, psychotically aggressive bad ass with old man strength, you don’t shoot your future-self with a goddamn shot gun. Do you know what you do, 3rd Rock? You ask him a bunch of questions like “how can I quickly become more like Die Hard and less like a theatrical, long haired ninny with a shot gun and no goddamn sense?” Then you throw a football around or something.
Yeah, I’d thought to ask more questions, but he was totally in a hurry and I figured I’d get an answer eventually. Which I did: Turns out after I invented my time machine, one Tuesday I needed the car title from my 1989 GMC Safari. And I’d lost it! The last place I remember having it was in 1999. So I jumped back, broke into my old apartment, stole the title, and grabbed a sandwich on the way out of town. And I hadn’t had any coffee, so when 1999 Tecosky asked what the hell I was doing, I was too tired and depressed to tell him how the future was boring and I needed to prove that I’d owned the car I donated to the American Kidney foundation in 2003. The IRS was all over my ass. In retrospect, I probably should have come clean. Maybe I would have stayed in school. Maybe I would have gotten that degree in Criminal Justice. Maybe I too would have turned into Bruce Willis, and would have maybe gotten the opportunity to make out with Cybil Shepard in Moonlighting. But I’d probably still be getting audited. No Time Machine can keep the IRS at bay.
If we’re using time machines for sandwiches, can I take our time machine back to the day my local Publix started toasting and stopped grilling their philly cheese sandwiches? I’m assuming we all share a time machine. That’s what we do, we travel through time for sandwiches and we review movie trailers. Actually, I want to switch bodies with the Publix executive who made this decision, Quantum Leap style.
“Oh boy.” I’d say to myself, looking at the paunchy, unfamiliar reflection in the mirror. Then I’d walk out of the Publix executive washroom into the boardroom and say to all the other executives, “I’m from the future, and we’ve got to keep grilling our philly cheese steak sandwiches!” Then they’d cheer and take their ties off and wave them around over their heads like wild indians.
I would also continuously travel back and eat my “Top Five Favorite Sandwiches that I Can Never Have Again”, thus changing the title of my Top Five List to “Top Five Sandwiches on Which I Continuously Gorge Myself,” creating a paradox that may or may not make all sandwiches cease to exist. But then, if sandwiches stopped existing, there would be no reason to go back and eat them, and if I didn’t go back, the sandwiches would still exist, so then I would— shit.
Anyway, here’s my list of Top Five Favorite Sandwiches that I Can Never Have Again:
5. That BLT I had on Dana’s porch that one time.
4. That Bahn-mi that I had at that “authentic” place.
3. That Fluffernutter I was forced to eat while stoned in college.
2. That Cuban Sandwich with the fried egg from that place that closed down.
1. That Brisket Sandwich on Irish bread with stone ground mustard from
that dingy bar in New York City. The waiter was surly, and I got
cursed out by Dave Attell later.
In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t the sandwiches that I miss. Maybe it was the thrill and uncertainty of youth. As the autumn approaches, we are left with nothing but ghosts and memories of sandwiches, and long walks in the evenings, up and down the boulevards, as the dry leaves rustle at our feet…