What would you do differently?

I’ve just completed (again) my favorite book. Its called Replay (sorry, cant recall the author). In it the main character “dies” of a massive heart attack only to “wake” up as a teenager in his childhood bed. He’s fully aware of his previous life and all that happened in the world. In a sense he’s able to live his life over again with all the knowledge of the future.

My question: what would you do differently knowing what you know now? or would you do anything different at all?

Did you pay close attention to history/current events while growing up to take advantage of the events of the future? In other words, would you know when to buy lots of MicroSoft stock when it was worth only pennies? Would you know who won the world series in 1982? How would you get rich?

Pondering this question myself I came to realize - I should have paid closer attention to current events while growing up. One thing I would definately change - jump on the high-tech band wagon right out of highschool. Imagine the fortune I could charge to fix Y2K issues.

Here’s a link to the amazon description for anybody that would like to see more about this book…

I doubt that I paid enough attention to current events in my teenage years to be able to make a billion dollars by the time I was 20 or anything.

But there are some safe assumptions about my knowledge level.

I’d know Microsoft was going to be a huge company…would have bought as much stock as I could afford.

I’d know who was going to win all the presidential races…I’ll betcha there’s someone out there that bet’s on that…

I can remember the outcome of some major sporting events…Like I’d remember some of the SuperBowl’s and World Series results.

I would know all the things I’d personally messed up and try not to repeate those particular mistakes.

I’d know the location of some big giant malls and stuff…maybe arrange to buy the land 10 years before development…this is a more risky endevor…they might just build someplace else.

That’s about all I can think of…but all in all I’m fairly sure I’d do better the second time around…

I haven’t lost my mind, I have a tape backup around somewhere.

Well, it would involve gambling, of course…

Also, I could have nailed my first g/f back in the day, but I was too damn scared. I would not only be more savvy in that sitch, but I would possess all the knowledge and technique I have learned since!

Oh, and I wouldn’t have been such a fuckup in school either…

Yer pal,

First of all let me say this: REPLY by Ken Grimwood is one of the best SF/Fantasy novels of the past few decades. Buy it!

I did keep good track of what went on during my lifetime. While I may have had trouble remembering Chateaugay (I was too young), I certainly knew about the Yankees-Dodgers.

I would, of course, have all the correct answers in order for the SD GQ forum.

Ray (not gonna gimme a second try)

I wouldnt change alot…all roads lead to here right?
But like satan, I would have tried harder in school.

I would have done that guy in university when I had the chance…my rep was tarnished enough cause he stayed over, shoulda at least got laid!

I would have prevented frankie’s burn. :frowning:

I would have nagged mom into a full physical in time to get the tumor… :frowning: :frowning:

I would have told Scott Carpenter I loved him BEFORE he moved across the country.

I would have dumped shitboy years ago.

I would have taken better care of my teeth…I chew my nails, and I have worn off some enamel on the bottom row.

but really, most of my biggest mistakes have led me here, and I wouldnt want to be anywhere else.

Very funny Scotty…
Now beam up my clothes!

I would have been taller.

It wouldn’t take a lot of knowledge to become fantastically wealthy. Since you can gamble on things with certainty, you can bet everything you have on them. And it doesn’t take many things before you are fantastically rich. Take a penny and double it 30 times.

The real problem is that you may find subtle changes that you are making are affecting the ‘future’, and things are no longer turning out like you remembered. So you’d have to be careful where you stuck in your influence. This would get more and more important as your wealth grew.

Let’s say you head over to Steve Jobs’ Garage and offer the budding inventors $10K for a big share in Apple. Does the extra money change anything? Maybe they get lazy now that they have cash and drop the ball. Or maybe the other guy who invested in them (and that you squeezed out) turned out to use his millions to bankroll a favorite senator, and now he can’t and everything changes.

It could get tricky.

If you really let your mind wander, you could get into some very interesting scenarios.

Perhaps I would have called the Secret Service and told them about Sirhan Sirhan in the kitchen of the Ambassador. (Telling them about Lee Harvey Oswald woulnd’t have changed anything, even if he didn’t go to Dalla. Of that I am sure.)

I would have taken bets on whether Nixon would resign. (Assuming Bobby died on schedule, that is.)

I would bet really big on some Oscar longshots, like Marisa Tomei.

I would invest heavily in both Apple and Microsoft, but I would work VERY hard to ruin my investment in Microsoft by trying to get through to Steve Jobs by telling him what would await if he licensed a damn thing to Miscrosoft. And I might actually be able to get to him, since I would be such an enormous shareholder in Apple, which was making Steve a millionaire long before Bill.

And of course, if I knew ahead of time I was going back, I’d search for the biggest single-win lottery in the country and take the numbers with me. Then it would only have to be split between me and the other person.

I’d use alot of my money to sound the alarms on environmental issues.

I don’t know that I would hesitate to hire myself out as a “psychic”, having built a stunning reputation with my prediction of events that no one could have predicted, like the Patty Hearst kidnapping, John Lennon’s death (although I might try to head that one off at the pass) and other such interesting items. Having done that, I would be able to get people to listen to me about things like the Northridge earthquake, Hurricane Andrew, and stuff like that.

My personal like would be a whole differnt matter. Top of the list: I would NEVER have started smoking. I would have stuck it out in school and gone to college. All the predictable stuff.

I would have told the OP to post this in MPSIMS. :wink:

I’m sorry, I just can’t get over the fact that MLAW doesn’t know who wrote his “favorite” book . . .

If you knew just three winners of the Stanley Cup, Superbowl, Pennant, etc., you could be fabulously wealthy. A lot of these teams would go off at 100-1 or maybe even worse at the start of the season. Take $1000 and parlay it 3 times on these, and you’d have a billion dollars.

i would have prevented the deaths of John Lennon and John Bonham

id probably use my knowledge to get some money, at least enough so i wont have to work much…

gone to some more concerts, and changed some things in my life regarding school and girls i knew…

i think it would be kinda fun :slight_smile:

Chief’s Domain - http://www.seas.ucla.edu/~ravi

What I find most puzzling about this topic is how many people have posted responses to attain wealth, better themselves or society/environment, or save an important life. Does one have to know the future and do a time travel schtick in order to change things? If one has regrets, one is capable to changing the rest of today, maybe not this morning.

1} I have known so many people who piss away their money and get into credit trouble to swear they would never do that again if given the chance. Then when they either come into some money or eventually clear up their debts, go back to the same old regardless of their promises. Save, invest and budget NOW!

2} If you regret starting smoking, then quit, it is possible, hard as s*** but possible.
3}Don’t be so concerned with saving the life of a person who had the chance to live, concentrate on saving the lives of potential John Lennons etc as in your examples.

4} For those who posted who have experienced loss and guilt over past experiences, focus on fire safety and cancer awareness and the like, depending on your particular loss. There are others like you who will experience similar. Help them.

5} For all you gamblers out there, would being filthy rich truly make your life better? With worrying about your kids being kidnapped, robbed or living under constant bodyguardship? Thanks, I’ll stick to my few " quiet million "

Well gee, Ursula.

I was all set to go back into time, too. I guess I won’t be needed my REAL AND NOT HYPOTHETICAL TIME MACHINE ANYMORE.

I would act more confidently around everyone, knowing now more about how people act and react and think. That would have altered my life so radically, I know I’d be in a different situation now, with a much different life, and be a very different person.

All this gambling on certainties’ stuff sounds a bit too greedy for me.

“To me, socks are like sex. Tons of it about, and I don’t seem to get any.”

Well, I’d want *something for my sacrifice. To me, it’d be giving up a LOT to lose the future. How much fun would be it be re-living an era? You’ve seen the movies, there are no big surprises, and you’d be looking at a lot of dead people. Watch Princess Di’s wedding, and all you’ll feel is sadness.

If someone asked me how much money they’d have to pay me to go back and live in the past, it would have to be an awful lot. Because a big part of the fun of living is heading into the unknown and seeing what happens.

I’ve read that book. It did leave me wondering what I’d do if I found myself suddenly back at age something-teen. I know I couldn’t make money betting on sports events; I don’t know a thing about who won what.

I’d be sure to go to Woodstock, and some other entertainments I missed. I’d get better grades in high school; get into a better college, etc.

I’d be tempted to try to extend my parents’ lifespans by talking them into quitting smoking and changing their diets, but I suspect I’d get nowhere.

I agree with whoever said that keeping Lee Harvey Oswald out of Dallas would not save President Kennedy. It would, however, be interesting to see how things played out if he wasn’t there…

It might be possible to stop some or all of the other big assasinations, but once you change history in a big way, everything subseqent to the change will be different. Increasingly so as time goes by. If I find a nice, safe way to stop Sirhan, I probably can’t save John Lennon. He’ll probably still get shot, but on a different day.

It would also be nifty to prevent some other crimes – stop serial killers, spree killers, school shooters, etc. Problem: I don’t remember the names, dates, places, etc. for the crimes I’d want to stop. I’d probably spend years reading papers / watching the news, and thinking “Oh, gee, I wish I’d remembered enough about that one to stop it.”

If I was SURE that I was going to get to replay my life, I’d get right to work memorizing a lot of stuff!

I would have gotten the courage to ask Anna-Marie Hubbard out back in '84. I was so close to doing do; that I did not do so is my greatest regret.

I would have taken that typing course on high-school, so I could be ready for PCs.

In my defense I have two comments to add:

  1. Sorry DrainBead --> first time to Straight Dope message board. Next time I’ll use MPSIMS for this type of question.
  2. Flora McFlimsey - who only had to say: “…should know author of his favorite book”. (Actually, I’m not a “he”.) I “surf” from work - the book is at home, so the author’s name slipped my mind.
    If I’d provided the author’s name would you have responded to the question?