(If you’re time-traveling, can you still be late?)
Once upon a time, if you were shopping for weird stuff, you turned to the newspaper and magazine classifieds. But things have changed. Now, you can buy just about anything on the internet.
Back in “the day,” classified ads ruled. Somebody, somewhere, was always willing to sell an old couch, or a rifle, or one lone orphaned bookend. Classified ads were educational as well, and many of us learned valuable lessons like, “Learn how not to be gullible! Send $5 cash to…”
There were flea markets, too, if you needed a large box of assorted nails, some commemorative railroad plates, or a barely-used set of encyclopedias missing the volume “ROO to SWA.”
Next came late-night TV and 24-hour shopping channels, combining instant gratification with insane levels of crushing debt, and causing thousands of Americans to perk up and say, “You know, Pearline, I think it’s about time we owned a kitchen knife that can cut through random pre-formed masonry.”
And then came email and the internet. Suddenly, marketers didn’t bother waiting for you to want something. No, they just pushed loud, bold, colorful emails at you, over, and over, and over, until you caved in, collapsing in a surrendering fetal ball, and started keying in credit card numbers.
And now, everything is available on the internet. It’s all out there, somewhere. Books. Music. Food. Brides from Moscow. Members of Congress. (panhandling not included)
So, I thought that, by now, I’d seen everything that could possibly be bought.
I was wrong.
Last week, while searching the internet for a few vials of tiger blood and some freeze-dried Adonis DNA, I was drawn to an ad that invited me to “Awesomefy” my life. Today!
I have to admitilate – my intriguishness was piquefied. I clicked the ad.
The link tookify me to a website that offered to teach me how to take charge of my own destiny by “Quantum Jumping” (as opposed to taking charge of my own destiny by “clicking the ‘Back’ button”). Quantum Jumping is the process of “jumping” back and forth between billions of parallel dimensions, where there are billions of parallel You’s. These You’s are your doppelgangers, your cosmic twins, but each on an alternate trajectory, each with different skills, different stains on their quantum carpet, different CD collections and, with any luck, different credit card numbers that would still belong to you, in a quantum sort of way.
The founder of the “How To Quantum Jump” site (I’ll call him “Bob”) has a name that sounds like an old Iron Butterfly album, and he’s from one of those countries that eschewed democratic principles in lieu of managing massive Customer Service call-in centers.
Bob claims that a person who wants to be, say, a writer, can use Quantum Jumping to bounce around universes until they find a parallel version of themselves (a doppelganger) who happens to be a brilliant, successful writer in that universe. Then, I suppose, you “annex” your twin, jump back to your own universe, and start cashing royalty checks and fielding offers from Oprah’s Book Club.
According to Bob, over 180,000 customers have made successful Quantum Jumps, once their pre-jump checks had cleared.
At his website, Bob displays his stellar qualifications, which include staring straight ahead a lot and holding out his arms like that left-most singer when The Village People launched into “YMCA.” Bob insists that Quantum Jumping is within everyone’s grasp, through the cosmic principle of “thought transference.” (and a little cash transference)
During the seminar … assuming you sprang for the 2-day package … you’ll learn how to change your reality by changing the frequency of your thoughts. (Not to be confused with the frequency you actually have thoughts. But I see no reason to drag Congress back into this.)
Per their “mission statement,” Bob’s goal is to spread enlightened ideas to 500 million people, so that everyone can get “a little more awesome.” (Awesomer?) To that goal, Bob offers a series of brochures and tracts designed to help you Awsomefy your life, as well as an extended weekend retreat that he calls the “AwesomenessFest,” which he says with a straight face.
But, as the old saying goes, there’s nothing new that ends well in the sun.
Or something like that. However that old saying goes. I never learned much about the Solar System … when I was a kid, my family was missing volume “ROO to SWA.”