Monday Hypothetical: Yes, It’s Finally Time to Discuss Wormholes

After work one day, you stop by a bar on the way home. It is not your usual place, but you have been stuck in traffic, and you just need to be somewhere cool and dark for half an hour. It’s so hot, you feel like you’re sweating through your eyes. You have been at this bar for a few minutes, and already checked Twitter five times, when you are approached by a exceedingly tall man with a beard and an eyepatch. Obviously, you are instantly intrigued. He introduces himself. He is Dragan Gavric. Dr. Dragan Gavric. And he is an inventor.

Dr. Gavric explains that he has figured out a portal system that allows its user to jump from place to place. Yes, he says, it’s like that Hayden Christensen movie.

Shattered Glass?”

No, the one with –

Star Wars?”

No, you know, the one –

“The other Star Wars?”

No, jeez, will you just let me –

“The other other Star Wars?”

Oh my god. The one, Jesus, the one with the time jumping, you unbelievable jerk! With Rachel Bilson?

The O.C.?”

After a brief skirmish in the parking lot, he explains the basic plot of 2008′s Jumper. [From IMDb: "A genetic anomaly allows a young man to teleport himself anywhere. He discovers this gift has existed for centuries and finds himself in a war that has been raging for thousands of years between Jumpers and those who have sworn to kill them." "But, you know," he says, "without the war and everything. And it's more like a fancy garage door opener than genetics. But essentially the same."]

Dr. Gavric confesses he has been following you for a few weeks, so he knows your secret. Though you work in quality control for a middling scissors and compass concern (the compass part was added in 1952, over the strenuous objection of company founder Pops “Doc” Whistlemar), you actually have almost unlimited wealth, thanks to your family’s invention of the hug in the early 1920s. (I know — I thought it was older, too.) You keep a day job to stave off boredom and, in that regard, you are a bit of a black sheep among your relations. You use the family fortune, but have never abused it. Your home is modest, as is your car. You don’t really want for anything, but you mostly live a normal life.

Dr. Gavric — OK, fine, Dragan — Dragan has a proposal. He is willing to sell you the exclusive rights to the portal system. He is an inventor, not a businessman. He doesn’t want to be in charge of this. He wants a one-time score and the remainder of his life spent sipping Zimas — Serbians have a strange affection for them — on a beach somewhere. [Forgot to mention: He wants $115 million.]

Before you make the offer, he adds, there is one problem. During testing, he discovered that each use of the system removes five IQ points and adds five-10 pounds to your body. These effects are irreversible. And the portal system is local in nature. It works only within 100 miles of the hub. The hub can be moved, but only by conventional means. In other words, you can’t jump to New York, but you can fly the hub up there — it’s about the size of a really old laptop — and then jump willy-nilly in a 100-mile radius around the greater New York area.

So:

1) pretty awesome, right? Right?

and

2) do you do this, knowing it compromises your morals, and probably your mental and physical well-being?

[UPDATE: I put this in the comments but because people skip those: since I forgot – I wrote it quickly – you can’t resell it. If you buy it, it works for you and you only, forever and ever, amen.]

17 comments on “Monday Hypothetical: Yes, It’s Finally Time to Discuss Wormholes

  1. “Do this,” as in buy the exclusive rights? Yes. “Do this,” as in go through the teleporter jumpy machine thingy? No. Not much of a conundrum, and I’m wondering how the decision would compromise my morals.

  2. I just need to stop doing these.

    Do this, as in yes, buy the thing, even though to really make proper use of it would make you fat and dumb and you would use the family fortune you have always avoided squandering to get it, AND the result is you could basically just beat traffic and not have to drive as much.

  3. And yes, I know it is flawed in other ways. Since I forgot — I wrote it quickly — you can’t resell it. If you buy it, it works for you and you only, forever and ever, amen.

  4. Why not buy it and set up an amusement park of sorts, in which you charge others a fee for each teleportation? Make your cash back and keep your girlish figure and your smarts.

  5. I have to say, Zac, this hypothetical was much more creative than your last. And in recognition of your frustrated ultimatum about my well-intentioned criticism, I have done my best not to be “a self-righteous know-it-all in the comments section of [this] local blog.” So, thanks.

  6. Buy it. And go back to the time in Game 5 of the NBA Finals when you made the 1000-1 bet that Dirk wouldn’t miss two free throws in a row. This time, bet the farm.

  7. This is really stupid. Total waste of time. Right, so let’s jump in.

    First, why the heck can’t you resell the machine? That makes no sense at all. Like, I can’t imagine any hypothetical reason that would prevent resale. Dragan doesn’t want anyone to know he invented it? Doesn’t make sense.

    Whatever, though. I’ll play by your rules.

    Essentially, you’ve set up a scenario wherein you can only use the machine three times. Fifteen IQ points and 30 pounds. Any stupider and fatter would be unacceptable. So what do you do with the machine? Hyperspace into Jim Schutze’s office, punch him in the face, and vanish. That’s one. Then you hyperspace into Dirk’s master bathroom so you can catch a glimpse of his super-hot girlfriend in the altogether and give him a high-five for bringing the Larry O’Brien to Dallas (and for the hot girlfriend).

    Then you clearly have to recoup your initial investment, which, since you can’t sell the machine, means you have to hyperspace into the Dallas Federal Reserve and steal $161 million (a 40-percent ROI).

    The question, then, is would you trade 15 IQ points and 30 pounds for $46 million (the 40 percent ROI). If you’re me (i.e., if you’re poor), then probably, yeah, sure. But if you already have $115 million to buy the machine in the first place?

    The definitive answer: hell no.

  8. Nope. No point in it. The detriment to mind and body overrides the fact that the only value it would have is in repeated use (like avoiding the daily commute or opening an “instant” package delivery service…). So, there is no value and certainly not millions worth…

  9. So, it really is like watching that O.C. show – fatter and dumber via the boobtube.

  10. You still haven’t elucidated how this will compromise me morally. That would be quite a feat, let me tell you. Good luck. I am a man of surpassing depravity.

    But about the 100 miles. Wiggle room? Any? If not, the short answer is thanks, but no thanks. What in Hell do you recommend I do in Waco exactly? Plus, say I did go to Waco, oh, 40 times, God knows why. Would I really have a negative IQ and weigh 570 pounds? That might make it worth it, just for the novelty value. Of course, in that state, I might be a better fit in Gainesville.

    Please advise.

  11. I honestly have no idea what my own IQ is. I have had one friend, two acquaintances and an ex-wife who all claimed to have IQs in the high 150s. If that was actually the case, deal me out. When you wet the bed, first it is warm, then it gets cold. Mama put on the oilsheets. That had the queer smell.

  12. what if i really knew where there was a portal!!! what is the going rate for that information??? call me…ashley 608 784-hope (4673). $$$$$