It’s Christmas morning, exactly. Nobody else is up yet, but I can’t go back to sleep, even though it’s still dark out. I’m not even sure I ever fell asleep in the first place. I’ve been just squirming in bed, hoping this night might pass by quickly. I just want to run downstairs and check under the tree. What I’m asking for, it’s a little farfetched, but I hope Santa found some way to make my dreams come true.
I want a time machine. I think. My goal here is to go back in time and stop the September 11th terrorist attacks from ever happening. I’m not asking that my Christmas present this year be a time machine for the sake of owning a time machine. If I can get that done without a time machine, then so be it. But I’ve gone through this over and over again in my head, and a time machine seems like the best way to make this happen.
But then I think about, so much has happened in the eleven years since that terrible day. I can’t just go back and change history. If I prevent the attacks from happening, so many people that are alive today will be dead, maybe, there’s no way to know. Maybe they’ll never be born. It would create a whole alternate reality.
And that’s even if I could go back and actually change anything. Didn’t the CIA warn George W. Bush in August that an attack from Bin Laden was imminent? If they couldn’t stop it from happening, what chances would I have? How do you get in touch with the CIA, the FBI? And then what, I just rush in and tell them, “You guys have got to act quick! Al-Qaeda is about to attack the US!”
They’d probably look at me and think I was crazy. Maybe they’d lock me up for a few days just because, you know, you can’t just go running around government agencies screaming about terrorist attacks. But this one would happen. And then there I’d be, locked up, and they’d say, how did this guy know about the attacks? And this was all under W’s watch, so I’d definitely get tortured and waterboarded and sent away to rot in Gitmo.
I’d try to tell about the future, about my time machine. One of them would obviously ask, “OK, so you have a time machine. And you’re using it to warn us about 9/11. Why would you come back on 9/10? Why not 8/11? Or earlier? Give us a chance to do something with this information?”
But I know that regardless of how many months ahead of the attack, nobody in the military would believe me. It would always end in me getting imprisoned. No, I’d have to go back even further, maybe farther enough back so I could catch Bin Laden when he was a kid, young, impressionable, less full of hatred toward the West. If I could befriend him, maybe I could show him that he shouldn’t go through with 9/11.
Then again, that’s a lot of work for one Christmas present. I really just wanted to undo 9/11. But yeah, alternate timelines. It’s too much. I think it would be great if, instead of the time machine, Santa, could you just maybe make the Twin Towers zap right back into reality? Right where they stood? Right before the plane crashed into the first tower.
Can you imagine how great that would be? Everybody alive again, safe. And it would be Christmas Day, so they could go right home and open presents. But then maybe the families, maybe it would be too much, all for this to just magically appear. A Christmas miracle, sure, but what about all of the grief of the last decade, all of the trauma? Widows might embrace their resurrected loved ones while thinking to themselves, who did I lose on that day? What about all of that debris that we had to sift through?
And were there any survivors from the original wreckage? If the Twin Towers were to somehow appear tomorrow, would there now be two of the same person, but one eleven years older? That’s got to be a tough integration, all of the sudden you wake up and your life has gone by eleven years, without you, but with somebody else who looks and acts just like you.
I think this is getting a little out of hand. This is probably too much for one Christmas wish. I think I’d like to change my mind Santa, maybe just give me that Wii-U I was talking about earlier. I hope he didn’t come already. I always do this. I can never make up my mind on a present. I’m always back and forth, back and forth, pros and cons, Wii-U or 9/11. I don’t know.