When I think back on my childhood, there’s not much I would change. Regardless of how painful they were, my mistakes shaped the person I am today. Still, if I could speak with myself in that window when I had a basic understanding of the world, but hadn’t yet fallen prey to its cynicism, would I guide me toward a different career? Or tell a younger Tim who or who not to love? I thought long about life’s lessons, and here are the five things I’d say to myself at age five.
1. Tim, on September 11th, 2001, Islamic fundamentalist terrorists are going to hijack commercial airplanes in a coordinated attack on U.S. military and financial targets resulting in nearly 3,000 deaths. And you need to stop them. You may want to write some of this down in your Berenstain Bears notebook. For starters, New York City’s World Trade Center is going to be one of the targets attacked on “9/11” (that’s what we call it in my timeline). However, on February 26th, 1993, the North Tower will be attacked by a group of terrorists, financed by the eventual 9/11 architect, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to do anything about it, because you will be both eight, and suffering from panic attacks when Mom leaves you at piano lessons. Nevertheless, when you come home from school that day and see your father watching the news coverage, stand directly in front of the television and stare at him, unblinking, for at least a full minute. When he asks if there’s something wrong, begin shaking violently and say “THIS WILL ALL HAPPEN AGAIN ON SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001.” Then drop to the floor and pretend to pass out. He may take you to the emergency room, but GlaxoSmithKline hasn’t laid him off yet, so you’re still upper-middle class. If all goes according to plan, Bob should at this point think you have pre-cognitive abilities. If he does not, repeat the same process when your parents watch the Oscars on March 29th, 1993. But this time say “HOWARDS END WILL BEAT OUT SCENT OF A WOMAN FOR BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY.” Now I’m going to leave with you a copy of the 9/11 Commission Report (the graphic novel version, not the real one, because c’mon). No one will believe that it’s real, and it could implicate you if spread around, so keep it hidden and continue to have your psychic episodes, each time revealing more information until Mom and Dad warn the authorities and prevent the attack. If this does not work, call in bomb threats before 5AM on September 11th to Logan, Newark, and Washington-Dulles Airports. None of this will be easy, but in the end, you’ll have saved thousands of lives and the U.S. economy. Also, try and get most of the planning done before 1997, as the proliferation of Internet pornography will… I mean… it’s just gonna be a huge deal for you. Good luck, we’re counting on you.
2. Repeat number one for clarity.
3. Repeat number one for clarity.
4. Just dance at weddings. It’s fun, what are you afraid of? Just dance.
5. Repeat number one for clarity.
Tim Dunn performs regularly with his comedy band The Shock T’s, hosts the podcast “The Nerdologues Present: Talking Games with Tim & Clayton”, and has written for the Second City Network. Also, he writes jokes about anxiety on Twitter: @TimothyRDunn.