Make your fortune in the past, using only what you can fit in this bag.

Here are the rules:

You may go back in time to any date before July 23, 1910, to any location on Earth you choose. You will be provided with vaccinations for whatever diseases you are likely to encounter; if you feel we have overlooked anything, you can request it too. A magic, Star Trek style subcutaneous universal translator will be implanted in you so that you will understand any language spoken to you, and you will be perceived as speaking the same language as anyone you address.

By way of supplies, you get period clothing for whatever era and location you choose–five changes of ordinary wear, one of semi-formal wear, and one of formal wear, along with four pairs of shoes. You also get a month’s worth of Meals Ready to Eat. All of that will be provided and packed for you; you get to inspect the inventory and supervise the packing, but cannot touch it yourself.

You also get one and only one of these duffel bags, which you can fill with whatever the hell you want.

Once you’re packed and ready, you’ll be taken to the past era and location you have chosen and left for a period of your choosing, so that you may make your fortune.

What’s your plan?

A whole duffel bag? I need bring only one thing, that I can fit in my pocket.

An iPod.

I don’t see what good that would do you in 1910 or earlier. I don’t even see how you plan to recharge it once the battery is depleted; there was electric power then, but somehow I doubt the iPod’s plug will work in the outlets available. Care to explain?

One obvious choice is a print-out (so you don’t rely on electricity) of the major sporting results for the 5 to 10 years after you arrive, and of the stock-market prices of major companies for that period – assuming you are going to an era where bookmakers and stockmarkets exist.

To which the natives would reply "What is this saying ‘Flash not supported?’ "

Assuming you are of talking about an iPod of the phone variety.

That would take up a significantly small space. The rest I’d fill with cash money. Open a bank account, and let interest do the rest.

How long are you planning to stay?

Come on, it’s an Apple product. Have you not seen the mass hysteria such devices are capable of generating? Multiply that by a million since it would be something totally unlike anything seen before. All I’d need to do was show that thing around and they’d be worshiping me as a god before long. Then sell it for a billion dollars and let them attempt to reverse-engineer it.

(and I’ll build a power adapter for the sake of recharging it. Don’t bother me with such trifling details!)


Sports betting is my standard plan for this sort of thing. The pre-1910 restriction sorta cramps my style a little bit, but there’s still pro baseball, prize fighting, and horse racing. I’ll be packing either a good sports almanac covering that era, or a notebook I’ve filled with carefully researched results. Prolly oughta include election results, too…those can be used for betting, or…otherwise.

Also gonna be wanting a really good map of current oil fields in Texas and Oklahoma. I plan to raise some cash gambling, then invest in land when it was pretty cheap. Obviously, I’ll title the land to a corporation owned by my ancestors.

Didn’t see a rule against it, so I’ll go tell Great Grandpa to sell everything he had in stocks by…say…August, 1929, and I’ll leave him a copy of my sports almanac and a good history of the stock market so he can continue to increase my/our capital. I’ll be very specific about buying lots of Microsoft as soon as it’s available.

Reckon I’ll take enough polio vaccine to clear up certain issues in the family tree, too.

I will bet all the billions of dollars Evil Inc. stole from Iraqi reconstruction funds against all the change in your pocket that no one in 1910 will be able to able to reverse engineer an iPod.

Well, okay, Fu Manchu will be able to do it. But he’s going to take it from you anyway. That is what “Fu Manchu” means.

I agree. That’s why I said “attempt to reverse engineer it”. :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t think the investments are the best idea. You’re planning on inheriting the funds, no? For that to be worthwhile for you, you can’t spend decades and decades in the past, so necessarily you’re putting the money out of your control (assuming you, say, go back to 1910 and say for just a year).

Also: You’re sentimental, Oak. You’ll TELL yourself not to give anybody else the polio vaccine, but you know perfectly well you won’t be able to follow through with in.

I would learn to play the guitar, memorize several of my favourite current songs and become a rock god in, like, 1967.

Granted, I wouldn’t have Elvis-like charisma, but I can have some minor success.

iPad and/or Kindle with a Solar Recharger. Fill it with any and all data type books that I can come up with (the aforementioned sports almanacs, history books, precious metals and other resources tables, college textbooks, etc.). That gives me everything I might need to look up that I am sure I did not think of yet.

Set up corporate accounts in Switzerland with the gold. Set up investment instructions for the accounts. Focus on oil leases and precious metals and gems discovered after July 23, 1910. Add in some good stock speculation, with a wind-down prior to any known crashes if possible.

Come back to the future with my password for the account, and collect my time-gotten gains.

Ah…another reason to love the Dope…
where for every subject, no matter how obscure, there’s somebody who has thought about it seriously enough to have a standard plan ready… :slight_smile:

Yup, planing on inheriting, eventually, not that it will matter. If the previous three generations of my paternal line had the information I’d give them, by the time I’m actually born the family will probably own most of the United States and parts of Canada.

Yeah, well…you know how it is when Aslan looks at you with those eyes that pierce the soul. I’m technically immune to his ire, what with traveling on a diplomatic passport from Asgard and all, but still…I hate to disappoint him.

Or, you know, seen *Back to the Future *(whichever sequel it is) seventeen times.

:: wipes away tears from face ::

Posts like this reassure me that I have not lived in vain. That said, I think there’s dangers to this plan. You’re obviously not selling this tech to Fu Manchu, so the buyer is gonna break it in short order and be pissed, and may decide to get his money back the medieval way. You’ll want to leave very soon after getting the funds. This seems fraught with peril.

Speaking of violence, it saddens me that none of you–but particularly my venerable fellow Southerner–has yet mentioned the necessity of bringing GUNS and AMMO. This will be especially necessary for the sports bettors.

And y’all do realize you’d better deliberately lose a lot of those bets, no?

And how are you going to print out all those books on the iPod to distribute copies as needed to your minions? I suppose you could attempt to take daguerreotypes of the screen… but if it’s not possible, you’ll be stuck transcribing for the rest of your time in the past, or you have to find a trustworthy minion to do it for you, one who won’t sell your secrets to the Kaiser.

After a bit of research on the most profitable varieties, I’d stuff the duffel bag with tulip bulbs and head for Holland in January 1637. Single bulbs were going for 10x the annual salary of a skilled craftsman, and the payout was in gold florins. I’m sure that the price of gold florins has risen enough to keep me from having to cook up an investment scheme. Besides, cooking up a buried treasure scheme would be more fun.

Hmm. I need to get out of Holland before February. I’m not going to know who to trust for a lengthy sea voyage. Maybe buy a quick coffin and have a burial at sea. I guess I’ll need to add some kind of signal device with a long battery life to the duffel. I wonder how many bulbs that will displace.

Note to self, read up on salvage laws.

edit - forgot that I’ll probably have to grow out the bulbs to prove they’re the cool kind - be sure to leave year before - take florins to live on while proving bulbs - bring name of contacts to sell bulbs to - learn to speak Dutch