The Rules-of-the-Universe-Do-Not-Apply Christmas List

The politicians on a break and so are we…

Ms Soapbox is curled up in front of the fire playing with her Christmas List. Like most of us she has pretty much everything her little heart desires—a comfy home, loving family, semi-loving dog (Ms Soapbox ranks 3rd in Ziggy’s affections behind Missy and Mr Soapbox), and way more stuff than she needs.

Here’s Ms Soapbox’s list so far:

  • Books: political, historical, biographical and crime fiction
  • DVDs ranging from schlock (Indiana Jones, Laura Croft) to quality BBC mysteries
  • Fuzzy socks (the old ones transferred their fuzz to my pants…a sticky-paper clothing brush would also be nice)
  • Flannel PJs (the old ones have lost their flannelly oompf)
  • A Time Machine (check with Elon Musk, confirm he’s solved the riddle of time travel and can guarantee that if I inadvertently squash a bug in the past I won’t return to a world governed by Donald Trump).

The first four items are self-explanatory, but you may be wondering where in time Ms Soapbox would like to go. Or you’ve decided Ms Soapbox put too much rum in her eggnog, but hey, it’s Christmas, we’re playing.

Ms Soapbox wants to go back in time to watch the magical moment when someone (I’m convinced it was two little kids) discovered fire.

fire-1Think about it. It’s not easy to create fire. The most common way is to twirl a hard wooden stick in a hole in a piece of softer wood until the soft wood starts to smolder and then add a bit of dry tinder, blowing gently until the tinder ignites.

Playing with sticks and bits of wood is exactly what children in the Lower Paleolithic would be doing on a rainy afternoon. Everything would be going well until the soft wood started to smolder. Afraid that they’d unleashed a demon, they’d throw some dry leaves on the smoke and inadvertently set the place on fire. Then after being scolded by their parents, they would sneak back to the two pieces of wood to see if they could do it again.

That’s my theory and I’d love to check it out.

At this point in the blog Ms Soapbox would normally embark on a discussion about the creativity of children and how helicopter parents are hampering the advance of civilization but I’m more interested in hearing what’s on your Christmas List.

If you were a time traveller where would you go? Perhaps you don’t trust Elon Musk to get it right, in which case is there someone living or dead you’d like to invite over for dinner? Maybe you’d like to examine the large Hadron Collider up close and personal by taking a ride on the Higgs boson?

What would you put on your Christmas List if the laws of the universe and human nature weren’t forces to be reckoned with?

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20 Responses to The Rules-of-the-Universe-Do-Not-Apply Christmas List

  1. I’d like to go back in time to being 16 again only knowing what I know now. Life would be so much easier and I would already know that I didn’t know everything.

  2. Catherine says:

    If I could go back in time I would like to meet Dr. Dennis Slamon in 1987 when he began research in HER2 breast cancer. I would tell him that I was a survivor because of his discovery and I would encourage him to give his wonder drug Herceptin to all women in his clinical trials with HER2 breast cancer. I am truly grateful for his dedication and research.

  3. Liane Sharkey says:

    Gosh, Ms. Soapbox, I don’t think it’s all fair of you to make me cry. Sonny boy is now employed and about to move away from home this month. Although we are delighted both for him and ourselves, your time travel option made me think about going back about 25 years to when he was a toddler and we just played together in the park all day. Hence the weepy mother. However, just as you estimate that you’re 3rd in Ziggy’s affections, he has stated he will miss Nora the dog terribly, with nary a mention of the parents, so I assume his time travelling will involve her, not us. I hope you get your fuzzy socks and stay cozy, you and all the Soapboxes! Thank you for another wonderful year of informative and stimulating blogging!

    • Liane, how exciting for Sonny boy! I still recall your visit with us here in Calgary. Sonny boy was a pre-teen (I believe). He’d never been to the city and yet after studying a map of Calgary he could navigate his way around the city better than I could. Smart kid, your Sonny boy. I’m sure you’ll miss him, but have no fear, he’ll be back…to get a hot meal, use the washer and dryer and hang out with Nora the dog.

  4. Roy Wright says:

    Now she produces a Christmas list! Oh well, at least I know what receipts to keep for a return. However, the bigger question remains as to where to go and with who. I would have to insist Ms. Soapbox accompany me to assist me in avoiding cow patties, which I am quite famous for in terms of inadvertently stepping in them, kicking them across the room or otherwise embarrassing myself.

    So with that in mind, it would be neat to be in Paris in the 1920’s, hobnobbing with Hemingway, getting into the grove with the creative types. I could also be talked into arriving in the East Indies with Captain Cook and experiencing for the first time the romance of a tropical paradise.

    Then I think, “Gee, life is pretty darn good, with family and friends around me, so maybe I would like to just hang out and enjoy Christmas 2015 with the people that mean the most to me”. Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and a great 2016…happy trails from the dreamer who still has his foot in reality!

    • Oh oh…does that mean you’re not getting me Laura Croft: Tomb Raider?
      Meeting Hemingway in Paris would be cool, but I’m afraid you’re on your own when it comes to Captain Cook. I’ll pass on the sea voyage and wait for “the dreamer” here by the fire. 🙂

  5. What a lovely post for the end of the year. If I could choose I would chose the mid to late 19th Century because that is the time of the corset and bustle. I am in awe of the ordeal women had to go through just to get dressed. Something so difficult that they would need help to do it! After dressing, what could I actually do? Breathe? Sit? Walk? After managing that, how would the men around me treat me? I suppose they would be gentlemanly. But would I have been left out of their “serious” conversations, yet would I be forced to sit through it all and smile? I wouldn’t be able to vote, so why would they care to listen to what I had to say. Of course, this would be a short visit, just there and back, to see how far we have come. I suppose there wouldn’t have been a Ms. Soapbox back then. How would you have managed?? Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family! 👫🎄👫🐕

    • Linda, we’d last 2 minutes in the 19th century! I just read about the Duchess of Manchester who pushed through a stile, tripped on her large hoop skirt, flipped head over heels, landing on her feet with the cage of her skirt and her petticoats stuck over her head. And here’s the scandalous part–she was wearing scarlet tartan knickerbockers under her skirt! If the clothing wouldn’t get us the cultural and societal standards would.
      Merry Christmas Linda to you and your family and of course those pesky cats!

  6. Joe Pendleton says:

    November 22, 1963 Sixth floor Texas Schoolbook repository. Disarm a man with a gun…

    • Joe: what an intriguing idea. Who knows where the US and the world would be today if JFK had been allowed to serve out two terms. The first question that springs to mind is would the US have pulled out of Vietnam sooner? Lyndon Johnson didn’t start the de-escalation until 1968. The second question is would RFK have succeeded JFK at the end of JFK’s second term (1969) thereby sparing the US from Richard M Nixon.

  7. Elaine Fleming says:

    Well, what a pleasant distraction your question provides! My husband and I like to camp, and have been to Alaska, the Yukon, and “Territories”, and all the way down to New Mexico. Everywhere the history of indigenous peoples is very long and I find it fascinating. We were in Haida Gwaii, a remote and hard place to get to, but such a rich cultural history. I am still trying to get my head around the fact the Haida people have been there 13,000 years.

    In the American Southwest I was obsessed with all the ancient (and some still occupied) dwellings of the Pueblo people, and the attempts of their present-day descendants to pass on the culture to their children. We were fortunate to be taken on tours of the pueblos by some of these people, we have watched totem pole carving in northwest Wet’suwet”en, and honoured to be allowed to watch a Sundance ceremony on the Salt Plains reservation by Ft. Smith. The most “spiritual” place for me, however, was at Writing-on-Stone Park here in Alberta by the Milk River. Very spooky. Especially at night. You could feel “their” presence, the Blackfoot ancestors. I can’t help myself, sometimes when I look at our surroundings even here in Edmonton, imagining what it was like before European contact, what the landscape looked like and how people lived. That would be my “trip”, to go back at least 500 years, and then 1,000 and so on to the beginning of the peopling of the Americas.

    Thanks for a nudge to have some interesting musings, other than the daily and Christmasy pre-occupations. And, thanks for all the thought-provoking blogs and lively political discussions over the last year. Merry Christmas to you, your family, and dog!

    • Elaine, your comments about Writing-on-Stone Park intrigued me. I googled it and found comments from others who agree that it’s “spooky”. One person compared the scenery and atmosphere to the Australian movie “Picnic at Hanging Rock” (which I’ve seen and which is spooky in a quiet unsettling way). We’re so cossetted from our environment in our warm triple pane houses, with electricity and water at our finger tips that we forget the ingenuity of the indigenous peoples who survived here for centuries before we arrived.
      Wishing you a Merry Christmas to you, Neil and your family (and of course the dog).

  8. Brent McFadyen says:

    Ms. Soapbox, if you want to move to number one for esteem from Ziggy lots of walks with him or her. I have two dogs and wonder if walks rank ahead of food they seem so happy to be with you. Merry Christmas to you and family and hope Mr. Soapbox remembers my tips for lump-less gravy .

    • Brent, it’s funny you should mention the gravy. I was thinking about it yesterday…every year it’s the same thing, a fabulous Christmas dinner and pathetic gravy. Even my hairdresser is giving me tips on how to make it edible. But no more! This year we have a magic recipe (yours) and come hell or high water the Soapbox’s gravy will be sheer perfection!
      I’ll let you know how it turns out. 🙂

  9. Carlos Beca says:

    First I would like to thank you for this special place you have created here. We read so many wonderful thoughts and I believe we learn from each other even when we do not agree.
    Your time machine idea is nice and I have lots of possible things I would love to know. Within nature I would love to know what the very first human being thought of lake Louise area when for whatever reason found it. I bet he/she thought that paradise was finally found. I can only imagine that place completely natural with no cars, no pollution and with the dense forest. Just the colour of the water is mind boggling. I can only imagine that place without any noise and where the birds were the loudest sounds.
    Merry Christmas to everyone.

    • Thank you Carlos for characterizing this as a “special place”. A friend of mine said that sometimes she feels like she’s under siege from the anti-progressive, Notley bashers and comes here to remind herself that she’s not alone.

      Your description of Lake Louise was evocative and haunting. It’s stunning now, it must have been almost surreal way back when. I’ve traveled to many many places and I’ve never seen water that magical colour.

      Have a Merry Christmas Carlos.

  10. anonymous says:

    I would like to use my time machine to go back a couple of billion years to see the state of the earth. I then would like to go into the future a couple of million years to see how it all turns out for humans. In the meantime, a few decades into the past might be entertaining.

    • Anonymous, the juxtaposition of a couple of billion years back in time and a couple of million years forward plays very nicely with the Lost in America clip which starts with “I need work”. Feels very much like what we’re experiencing today in Alberta’s do loop version of history.

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