Monday, March 21, 2011

What I Didn't Expect to Hear in the Movie Line-up

The last thing I expected to hear Saturday night when my wife and I were waiting in line to get to the ticket counter at our local bazillionplex theatre was a very serious discussion about temporal duplication.

Sure, if there were any science fiction or comic-based or fantasy movies currently running in the theatres featuring time travel as a plot device, I could understand people standing around waxing philosophical or busting out some physics about whether there could be multiple versions of a person coexisting in the same time frame as a result of time travel. But there aren't. So this was coming out of nowhere.

Since we had a few minutes before we'd be at the front of the line to get our tickets to see Paul, I couldn't help but eavesdrop a little.

I had to smile because it was an 8-year-old kid trying to convince his dad.

"Really, think about it," says the kid, "If a guy went through a time portal into his past, then lived forward to the point where he went through the portal, then followed himself through, there'd be three of him!"

The expression on the dad's face for the next few seconds shows that he's twisting this around in his mind like a Rubik's Cube, giving it serious thought.

"No," Dad says, "I don't think so. I think you'd only have the one guy."

"No, it'd be three." Insists the kid, running his hands through his hair like one pitmaster running up against an equally obstinate meat aficionado in a sauce vs no-sauce debate. "You're not considering the effect of the radiation-"

[Huh? Radiation? I thought, My knowledge of physics is admittedly pretty elemental, but time portals generating radiation that could contribute to duplicating a person? Not so sure about that, kiddo...]

"I don't think the radiation would have that effect." says the father.

And on they went, but I missed the rest as it was now time for us to get our tickets.

I loved this whole exchange. For the sheer, unabashed public nerdiness of it. But most importantly because this kid had a dad who would not only indulge his geeky chatter, but give it real consideration and participate in it.

That's an experience I would never have been able to have with my dad - not at that age, and not now. I love the old man, but he isn't a geek, doesn't understand that stuff, and doesn't care about it. If I'd have tried to engage him in a discussion like that when I was eight, I probably would have received a half-hearted "Oh?" for a response before he turned his attention elsewhere.

I can't say whether this dad in the theatre the other night was a fanboy or not, but he made the effort, and that's an achievement as great as constructing a time portal in my books.

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