We’ve come to that part of the year when we think about the passage of time. Apropos of that, news comes from the exciting world of science that there might be a universe parallel to ours, one where time is running backwards.
I guess that to be more sensitive to the feelings of the people who may live in that other universe, I should say that time appears to be running backward from our perspective. The people who live in that other universe might think we’re the ones who are doing it wrong.
Who’s to say which of us is right and which of us is in the universe where time is moving in the “correct” direction?
When I started writing this column a couple of years ago, I promised myself there would be no math. Therefore, I will spare the readers the abstruse calculus that led scientists to conclude that there is another universe, with time traveling in the opposite direction.
Julian Barbour, of the University of Oxford, one of the scientists involved in the recent discovery, explained it this way: If people in that other universe could see us, “They would think we now live in their deepest past.”
And from our view, we would see the people in the other universe as traveling into the past we just lived through.
This discovery has to be the most baffling scientific revelation since the news in 1979 that there was a star that “seems to be coming and going at the same time.” That year, “Saturday Night Live” character Father Guido Sarducci claimed that Vatican astronomers had discovered the astronomical oddity much earlier, calling it the “Vienne et Viennu Planet,” the Coming and Going Planet.
Though the scientific description of that star was interesting, it turned out to be wrong. Only time — moving in one direction or the other — will tell if this theory of countervailing universes also is incorrect.
Look at our two universes as trains running on parallel tracks but in opposite directions. And imagine if you could jump, like the hero of some old cowboy movie, from one moving train to the other without breaking nearly every bone in your body.
Oh, the places you will go. You will be returning to a time when:
David Vitter and Bobby Jindal still supported Common Core.
Steve Scalise was a state representative who, according to his spokeswoman, “made himself available to anyone” who wanted to hear him speak. And by “anyone,” he apparently really meant anyone.
The New Orleans Saints were the defending Super Bowl champions.
Democrats still won statewide elections in Louisiana.
Women still won statewide elections in Louisiana.
Ray Nagin was a promising young businessman — in the cable, not the granite, industry.
A National Basketball Association team called the Jazz was housed in a town where the name made sense.
The Pelicans were a New Orleans baseball team.
King cakes were sold only between Jan. 6 and Mardi Gras. And they were dry and boring.
Duck decoys were used in the privacy of the swamps, not in front of the entire nation on a weekly network television show.
Food was blackened only when the chef forgot to keep track of the cooking time.
Taking selfies consisted of setting your camera’s timer, running to get in front of the lens and hoping you made it inside the frame, finishing the roll of film, taking it to the developer and then waiting about a week to see the pictures.
Those were the days.
Or, if you’re in that other universe, those will be the days.
Dennis Persica can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.