[Not based on a true story - just a bit of fun]
The 17-year-old student was doing homework at the desk in her room when her 40-year-old self materialized in front of her, looking a little worse for the wear.
“Whoa, are you me?” 17 asked the one-eyed scarred mess.
“I am, and I’m glad you figured it out yourself so I don’t have to waste time convincing you,” 40 answered.
“Nah, I know how these things work. So what happened to me? Or should I say, to us?”
40 shuddered. “I can’t go into too much detail, but I’m going to tell you exactly what to do to avoid the whole thing. May I?” She pointed to a bean bag chair (how she missed that chair).
“Sure, it’s still yours.”
40 sank into the chair with a sigh. “All right – pay attention, because I won’t have much time now that I’m altering the course of my own history. First thing to keep from becoming me: get out more. You have friends, use them.”
“But I’m working on my final papers, and my job at the theater – ”
“I DON’T CARE!” 17’s eyes bugged out at this. “Sorry, I usually have to scream to get my point across. What I mean is, all that stuff is important, but it’s not everything. You need to see more of the world, so you can face what’s coming down the line. Get it?”
17 nodded. “Yeah, that makes sense. What’s next?”
“Two: in three days, that guy you’re crushing on, oh what’s his name – ?”
17 blushed. “Tom.”
“Yeah, that. In three days, he’s going to ask you to prom.”
“Do not, under any circumstances, go to prom with him.”
“But I’ve been crushing on him forever! I thought he didn’t even know I'm alive!”
“He doesn’t until tomorrow. It’s the same old story: he realizes he needs you for his master plan, he emotionally manipulates you into thinking you two could have a future together, and then when he achieves his diabolical goal he turns on you like a bad cheesecake and leads to this,” 40 pointed to her torn ear.
“Tom did that?! Ewwww!”
“Well, not him specifically, but he leads you to the incident that does it. All you need to know to keep your ear and your sanity intact is to steer clear of him.”
“Does he give me my first kiss?”
“What? Seriously, that’s all you’re getting out of this? He made me get a torn ear!”
“Fine, I’ll die unkissed if that’ll make you happy. So what about the eye?”
“I’m getting to that. Three: when you see a job posting for the print shop on Main Street, do not apply for it, no matter how tempting it looks.”
“I don’t think I ever would apply for it – I’m going to go to pharmacy school.”
“Not in six months you aren’t. Long story short, working there led to a series of international events where I lost the eye.”
“Yeah. Finally, four: in two years when the bombs hit, make sure you’re in Alaska. Trust me, the best survivors came out of there.”
“What do you mean, the bombs? Like buildings blowing up?”
“The A bombs. One’s bad enough – there were seven, one for each continent. The poor penguins never stood a chance.”
“Wow. I thought we didn’t have to worry about atomic bombs anymore, you know, they were so last century.”
“History always repeats itself.”
“Isn’t there a way we could stop it, though? I mean, it hasn’t happened yet – we could stop it!”
40 laughed wryly. “Let’s just say, it’s not the worst thing to happen to this planet. So, you’ve got everything?”
“I think so: get a life, no to my crush, no to random job, and move to Alaska. That certainly went from trivial to world-ending.”
40 stood. “Great. All those tragedies I faced should now be undone, hurray!”
“So why are you still here?” 17 asked.
“You’ve told me everything to avoid becoming you, so you should cease to exist. Why are you still here?”
“You’re right! Let’s see, if I go back in time to avoid my fate and never exist, then how could I have gone back in time to avoid my fate…? I see now. I didn’t go back far enough. Sorry, kid!”
“What do you mean?”
40 jumped back to the night she was conceived and burst into her parents’ bedroom, greeted by them screaming at her in fright.
“It’s all right, Mom and Dad,” 40 said as she dissolved into the space-time continuum. “At last, all will be well.”
The resulting paradox disagreed.