NOTE: If you hate reading because it reminds you of how slow you are, just scroll to the bottom right now to read the short version of the point of this blog.
In 2012 it was discovered that emails sent to the address email@example.com are received in the past at some point in the mid-to-late 1990s! The potential ramifications of this were immediate and mindboggling: the timeline could change! Disasters and catastrophes could be averted or prepared for just as easily as they could be caused by abusing this incredible quantum anomaly. This was to be kept under top level classified security, given the name Project Wisdom — the utmost care had to be taken to make sure that this was handled properly and determine the possible consequences to the space time continuum.
For months, data was collected and the risks were weighed. Impassioned arguments lasted for weeks, every possible angle considered and reconsidered. Calculations of cause and effect, equations to quantify choice and free will, paradimensional considerations — logic and fiction were at times indistinguishable from each other.
And then finally, it was time. A unanimous course of action had been agreed upon. The Project Wisdom team stood gleaming with the sweat of impending history in the glow of a giant twelve foot computer monitor mounted to the wall, the room deathly silent except for the hum of the mainframes flanking the scene. The lead researcher stepped forward, sat in a chair, gently pulled a black keyboard toward him, and began typing the first email to the past.
Subject: Hello from 2013
Though I am certain you will not believe us at first, we are sending this email from the future. To prove this to you, please reply with what month, day, and year it is for you and we will tell you events that will happen over the next seven days from your time. This is of vital importance. We have much to talk about.
He read over it and glanced at his team, who nodded in approval. His hand moved the mouse, though he felt as if he was merely observing it do so and not in control at all. The arrow on the monitor stopped over “SEND”. His index finger pressed the button. The click was almost deafening.
The Project Wisdom team looked around nervously. Even with all their calculations, there was still that uncertainty about the effect on the timeline. Seeing they were still indeed existing, they began once again questioning and arguing among themselves.
“Could we have worded it more convincingly?”
“Will this timeline even receive the reply or have we created another one?”
“I thought we had agreed the parallel timelines would diverge upon our instigation, and that would dictate we be present in the divergent timeline!”
“You, once again, of course, are forgetting the principle of–”
A faint beep silenced the room as though all the air had been sucked out. “Inbox – 1” was highlighted in the left column. The past had replied!
“What we read here today,” the lead researcher stated, measuring his words in the knowledge that they would be in thousands of history books, “will be the first words of the next chapter of humanity.” He clicked the message to open it and read the reply.
“just ask your mom when I did her to make you, that’s what day it is lol
guess that makes me your dad, leave me alone son
PS project wisdom is a dumb name”
Shortly afterward, Project Wisdom was declassified and people began emailing wiracocha1 freely as word spread. The government showed little concern for this and, indeed, encouraged it, as they determined that the safest way to keep the timeline unaltered was to soak it in the banality of the internet
CLIFF’S NOTES VERSION: Email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask advice from / talk to an obnoxious teenager from the late 90’s. It might even end up on this page where the world might even see it. Your email address will stay private though, promise.