Time-Travel Twofer!

Time-Travel Twofer!

I sometimes do a twofer time-travel trip. That’s where I plan to go to two time-and-places, directly from one to the other, rather than come home from one trip, take a nap, wash up, and go on the next one.

I did a twofer today when I first traveled to Zanzibar, the year 1498. That came about when I was listening to Billy Joel’s Zanzibar. I thought, “A clue.” I picked the year by random. I’ve always been able to think of random numbers. I can’t do computations with numbers. Not even simple addition. But I can arbitrarily generate number combinations in my mind. For instance 6902, 8708753102, 16.

Vasco Da Gamma lands in Zanzibar

So there I was on a beach in Zanzibar. On the water approached two small boats with Portuguese flags. I knew the banner because when I was a kid I used to memorize countries’ flags. There was something about colors on a rectangle that did it for me.

The small boats were coming from large sailing ships parked out in the distance. When they arrived, out came the crew members, and one fancifully dressed gentleman, who introduced himself as His Lordship, Admiral of the Seas of Arabia, Vasco de Gama. I declared myself, Fancy Pants Sovereign of the Utmost Prahhh, Sir Burlap Tires.

As monarch I was customarily bestowed with a thirty-foot potted conifer, a solid gold container of powdered asafetida spice, and a sleeping donkey named Pratskyfelted. I responded by laying on the ground and rolling back and forth. Respecting the customs of Prahhh, Vasco followed suit, but he got sand in his armor, and threw a fit. This made me happy because it’s one of my favorite things to watch powerful people lose it.

I’m badly allergic to donkey and had a sneezing attack. I had to get out of their quick and got in my time-travel machine and went to Blyth, Northumberland, England, August 19th, 1969. I chose the time for a reason you’ll see. I chose the place because I really like the name of the county. As a child I used to skip and sing, “Northumberland, Northumberland, Northumberland!” Once I sang it straight from breakfast to bedtime. My father was impressed. He estimated the amount of times I sang the name, which came to 85,220, and contacted the Guinness Book of World Records. I was distraught when my father told me I’d been defeated two years earlier by Billy Baskenwarsh, a nine year old, from Blyth, Northumberland, who had repeated the name of the county 99,587 times.

So I got out of my time-travel machine and walked to 1201 Beconsfield Street. I knocked and Oliver Baskenwarsh answered. He was holding a small metal clicker and he was clicking in time to his son Billy’s repetitions of, “Northumberland.” I asked if I could see the number. Mr. Baskenwarsh held up the clicker which said 4,309. I thanked him and said, “Morth’s Umberland, Gorth Wonderman, Sworce Blunder Sand.” Billy’s forehead wrinkled as he said, “Norfwonderwand.” Mr. Baskenwash stopped clicking and sighed with disappointment. Billy was silent and hung his head low.

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