Sunday, June 15, 2008

Time, Cleaning the Panels, and My Future Self

Its Father's Day.

Albert Einstein once said:

"The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

I have thought often of this idea, this "illusion", over the past two years, as I have faced the death of both of my parents, and a bit more again in the past couple of weeks, as I muse upon turning 50.

Today, I went on the roof of our house with a garden hose, some dish soap and a brush. No, I am not loosing it completely, I have solar panels that require periodic cleaning. My sweet wife does not warm to the concept of me, The Provider, on the roof playing with water and dish soap. She logically fears an accident by somewhat awkward me, resulting in much trauma for our family. I am sobered by this, as a neighbor on our street, who was roughly my age, fell off a ladder to his death while cleaning his gutters several years ago, leaving behind a wife and daughter of elementary age. I am not kidding.

This life we lead, as Einstein knew, exists on one side of a thin veil from death, another dimension.

As I was scrubbing panels on the roof, doing my part to reduce my Big Foot-sized carbon footprint, I started to chuckle thinking how silly this solar-panel-scrubbing effort will very likely someday seem. Surely, within the next 20 years some new technology will either scrub my panels for me, or the whole idea of solar power will be transformed in some way I cannot even now imagine. Such is the future.

While alone up on the roof in the sun, I thought of all those pictures from my parents photo albums from when I (like my girls now) was a teenager. How old-fashioned and tacky they all look. Time marches on, unimpeded by our memories of better or more simple times.

And then, I came downstairs to watch the final round of the US Open. I could write another post about that, but suffice it to say, Tiger and Rocco are amazing. During the midst of the tournament, another commercial came on from Lincoln Financial. To me, Lincoln has the most amazing advertising agency ever. Almost every add they do grabs me right in the heart.

Einstein would like this ad's idea. What if the laws of time were, for a brief moment, abolished, and we could chat with our future selves? It might be amazing.

And so, I give you this commercial, from the people at Lincoln Financial. Think less about the financial aspect, and more about the timelessness of this. It is wonderful. The question that punched me in the gut, from the new father
(note: its a baby girl, just like our two) to his future self, was, "How'd I do?". Oh my!

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