In a previous web toot, I talked about using the Joe-ma-Tron. (See “Fouled Out,” October 10, 2012.) The Joe-Ma-Tron allows me to go wherever and whenever I want, and see anything, whether it actually happened or not. I described it as “the patented, exclusive Joe-ma-Tron. The Joe-ma-Tron is a combination time machine, teleporter, dream extractor, fantasy generator, and deluxe snack and gourmet beverage machine.”
Some people have been asking me about it: where it came from, how many places I’ve gone with it, whether it comes with fog lights, interstellar radio, and back-up beepers. But let me tell you, using the Joe-ma-Tron sometimes produces surprising or alarming results.
Technology is great but has its limitations. Take the time I went to visit Julius Caesar, for example. This was during the Joe-Ma-Tron’s shakedown period – one of its earliest voyages, in fact. Turns out Julius speaks Latin. Who knew? I had a little Latin in high school (not to be confused with a Little Latin Lupe Lu), but I don’t use it much. I studied Latin so long ago, it wasn’t a dead language yet.
Anyway, I go back to see Julius, and he starts popping off at me in Latin. Talk about a buzz kill. Next time someone’s being a real downer, just imagine if they were speaking Latin. Complete with numbers in Roman numerals. Makes even your dull friends seem exciting, right?
It went down this way:
Joe: So, you’ve conquered most of the known world. That’s quite an incredible feat. How did you do it?
Caesar: Veni, vidi, vici.
Joe: Hmm. Yes, so I’ve heard. Listen, you really changed civilization for most of the world. How did you and everyone feel about that?
Caesar: Amo, amos, amot.
Joe: Right. Moving on, you seem to be uncharacteristically waffling on whether to cross this river. Where do you think you’ll be a week from now?
Caesar: Hic, haec, hoc.
Joe: This is really becoming annoying.
Caesar: Hujus, hujus, hujus.
Joe: And do you think you can really trust this Brutus guy?
Caesar: Huic, huic, huic.
Joe: And Cassius ain’t no prize, either.
Caesar: Honk, honk, honk.
Joe: I don’t think that’s right.
Joe: I’d recognize that in any language. Stay focused! How about a nice latte?
It didn’t end well. If you think all-powerful military dictators can be volatile, you should see one jacked up on caffeine. I’ll tell you, after a few Joe-ma-Tron lattes, old Julius just about FLEW across that river. But I learned my lesson. I realized the Joe-Ma-Tron needed a Magic All Language Translator (MALT), so I spent a few days whipping up one that could also hold my music library and some classic flicks.
Now I can ramble about in space and time, through alternate dimensions and realities, without fear of not being able to converse with anyone I meet. Well, I’m actually not much of a conversationalist, and I freeze up if more than three people are around, but at least language isn’t an issue.
And how does this all happen, you ask? Why, with the help of the Misty Mirror, of course. Stay tuned for further adventures in space and time!