If You Could Talk To One Person In History, Who Would It Be? (The answer may surprise you)

Recently I saw a story in a magazine that asked “If you could go back in time, anywhere in history, and could only talk to ONE person,who would you like to talk to?”

Wow – what a question! I mean any time in history? This really got me thinking! Yes, part of it is because I am a sci-fi geek – I want to see the machine that will take me back in time! (Maybe I want to meet the person who created the time machine!) More on that some other time!

I Went Through My Mental Historical Figures Roledex.

Ok, I didn’t do that. I got on Google and began looking through history – and also looking at my interests. I love astronomy, history, science, music – and all of my interests have so many history-changing figures who influence us to this day! How in the world can I pick who to meet?

Maybe I could sit and talk to religious figures -such as Jesus, Confucius, Moses,  Mohammed, or  Buddha.  What IS the meaning of life? Why are we here?  Or perhaps Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, or Pascal. Great philosophers who have pondered life’s meaning and lessons.

Great. Can We Narrow This List A Little, Tom? 

Wait, I am just getting started!   I love space – the kind of space with STARS in it – no not Hollywood, OUTER space, planets, stars, galaxies!  Some of my astronomy heroes include Tycho Brahe, Nicolaus Copernicus, William Herschel, Johannes Kepler, Edwin Hubble and Galileo Galilei. To sit with any one of these amazing people and stare at the night sky and ask questions would be, well, “out of this world”. This isn’t getting any easier!

Let’s Get Back To Earth. What About Music?

As a guitar player and also a trumpet player, I have studied, played, and love Classical music as well as guitar oriented music of all types. I would dearly love to chat with Mozart, Beethoven, Bach – how they came up with ideas, and recorded them to paper, long before computers and electronics. How they wove such complex arrangements together, layering so many instruments and sounds. It was like multi-track recording before it was invented – they just imagined it in their brains!

Hey what about rock and roll, man?  Yes, I grew up in the era of Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, Les Paul and so many other amazing guitar players and early rock bands. I started playing when I was seven years old, and have played in bands for fun ever since – over 50 years this year! Oh, to sit and study with B.B. King, George Harrison, Jimmy Page.  I might really learn something fantastic or be so overwhelmed that I break my guitars up and toss the in my wood stove for heat!

They Blinded Me With Science.

My head would be spinning now. Not because the time machine is making me woozy. It’s because there are so  many amazing people to go back in time and talk to! I love science! Oh, to chat with Marie Curie, Neils Bohr, Max Planck, or Darwin, DaVinci, Tesla, or Einstein. The world’s brain power and geniuses, and I can ask anything I like! What would I ask them?

Maybe Sigmund Freud might wander over, put is hand on my shoulder, and gently say “I have the answer for you, it was here right before you all of the time”.

“What is it, Sigmund, what? Who do I meet and what to ask?”

If I Knew Then What I Know Now!

I know who I’d love to go back in time to visit and talk to! I have it! I would go back and visit – ME!  Yup, ME.  Why?  Well, imagine this – I go back, oh maybe in my early turbulent twenties. I was confused, a young Dad, just starting my photography business. I had no idea of what I was doing! Oh, the mistakes I was about to make!

Is It Proper To Time Travel and Interfere With The Past?

Alright, let’s buy this idea – I suddenly, somehow pop back into my own life (and not scare the heck out of myself!) What DO I say to ME of 30 years ago?  I mean, I am currently the product of what I learned all these years, often by making mistakes! I cannot rob my former self of those valuable learning opportunities and challenges! 

So what WOULD I say?  After some thought, I decided I would not ASK myself questions, I would try to reassure myself.

“Hi Tom, my name is, well, Tom. I am YOU from 30 years in the future. I just wanted to say hi and give you some advice.”

I would continue; “First of all, you may want to go the fast food route just a little less. Maybe more salads? Maybe walk or run a little more, maybe a gym? You’ll thank me in 30 years or so. Now next up, I want you to visit Grandma and Grandpa more often. Hug them as much as you can, and ask about their childhood.  Learn from them. While you’re at it, do the same for Mom and Dad.  Find out more about their raising – it’ll explain a lot. You still with me?”

“Yes, yes I am but can you speed this up? The baby’s crying and I have a ton of college homework to do, then get to my second job tonight”, I say to my older self.

Let’s Get Down To Business.

“OK, listen, when you get into your photography business, find a mentor, or mentors, people who are where you want to be. Enjoy the ride everyday. But don’t keep making the same mistakes. Learn from people who have been where you are and now are successful.” My younger self nods at my older self in understanding.

Oh, and times will get tough. Don’t worry. Even though money is tight, your little boy will grow up to be a great man. It’s not what you give him that counts. It’s the time you spend with him. Don’t work all the time. BE with your family. Your work is photography – but you’re a Husband, a Father, a Son and a Citizen, not JUST a photographer.

Time For Me To Go.

I have to leave you now, but a couple last things – never ever give up. Persistence is a real trait of a winner. Oh and when your son’s first girlfriend breaks his heart in high school, DON’T tell him there are plenty of other fish in the sea. Just give him a hug, and let him cry in his room. It’ll be fine.”

- Thomas Morelli



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One Response to If You Could Talk To One Person In History, Who Would It Be? (The answer may surprise you)

  1. Tom Yazzie
    November 17, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Very great story Tom Morelli.
    .I love it.

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