Someone recently asked me what I thought my life would be like if I had made different choices, or if events had worked out differently. It’s a natural question to ponder, and I’d be lying if the thought hasn’t crossed my mind on occasion. For many of us, the answers to the all-powerful “what if” are vague and ephemeral. We’re just guessing at what our lives might be had fate turned out differently.
But what if we didn’t have to guess anymore? What if we could see our alternate selves? What if it were possible to talk to—and maybe even understand—them?
Here at Party Now, Apocalypse Later Industries, our R and D department has been hard at work developing technologies* designed to pierce the veil between realities so that we can glimpse the endless possibilities that lie within. In an effort to test this new technology, I have invited my various other selves to sit around for a confab. We sat around for ruebens and soft pretzels at Margaret’s Deli here in Tulsa (Earth 247-a, or “home” to you and me).
There is the Mac from Earth 409-Epsilon, who couldn’t quite achieve escape velocity from Law School. Still thoroughly unemployable, he’s managed to fall ass-backwards into a State House seat. Still, in hushed tones he refers to the State Capitol as a “gulag.” He wears an oversized belt buckle like a droid wears a restraining bolt. He orders six beers, and then asks what the rest of us want.
Seated next to him is the Mac from Earth 13254-Beta Blocker. He comes from a world where humans evolved from jellyfish instead of humans. He sits there like a blob. Occasionally, a bubble floats to the surface of his unusual form when he wants more iced tea. He also took the full-on leap into middle management at (JOB REDACTED). Oh, the things I might have done if I was born without a spine.
Continuing around the table is the Mac from Earth 14. He seems pretty successful, and successful in the way that I might like to see myself one day. He made it out to California, and started working in film. He’s even directed a little bit, but I’d rather not discuss the titles. They’re not good out-loud words, but sufficed to say, they get regular play late at night on Cinemax**. Truth be told, he looks kind of tired.
The final responder to my trans-dimensional invite is the Mac from Fireworld-7B. He wears camo, a bright red hat—the writing upon which I won’t go into in this blog—and he looks at our surroundings contemptuously. I get the feeling that there isn’t a whole lot ethnic food on his world. How did this guy get to the party, you might ask? Well, if we look at the infinite nature of the multiverse, then I suppose there’s a version of me that matches this description as well.
…and I would tell you what was discussed, except that would violate the laws of inter-dimensional travel. That, and I just suddenly realized that the conceit of this piece would involve me writing dialogue for several characters that have the same name. I tried a couple of times to do it, but I only managed to confuse myself. So, I think I’ll keep our conversation—or gurgling, as in the case of jellyfish Mac—private. The point I would make is that, the longer I think about these other versions of me, the better off I think I am. I hope the rest of you are living the best version of your lives. If not, there’s always time to make a change. If you need a change of scenery, can I suggest a trip to Fireworld-7B? There’s a guy there that kind of looks like me who has plenty of room at his place, just so long as you don’t mind Ted Nugent records playing non-stop.
*Or, you know a six part full-cast audio drama. Potato, potato. Which, I’m once again realizing is an expression that has almost no meaning in text.
**Cinemax is still a thing, right? Well, on Earth-14, it sure is.