Time Capsules and Aliens

What would I put in a 2012 time capsule?! I’ve never really understood the purpose of a time capsule. I get that it’s meant to preserve a moment in history for some future generation. But why? I’m the kind of person who gets satisfaction out of throwing stuff out. I feel that accumulating personal belongings only weighs you down, and the less crap I own, the lighter I feel. Therefore, anything I own is something I want to hold onto, so why would I go and stick it in a time capsule?

How do I even know anyone will find it? What if the end really is coming in a couple of weeks, and my capsule will be discovered by zombies or aliens or never found at all? Furthermore, my junk will never biodegrade in said time capsule, so it will never do the Earth any good after the human species has been wiped.

But, in the spirit of cooperation, let’s pause for a moment to think about what a time capsule full of my junk would mean to a some future generation. Even the things I value most–my cell phone or laptop–I’m betting will be obsolete in a few years, never mind 20 or 50. So, maybe a better item to put in the capsule would be a USB flash drive with all my documents. Yeah, you’d think that, but who knows what kind of technology will be used in the future, and that flash drive will be the equivalent of VHS or cassettes tapes to teenagers today.

Suddenly, I am reminded of the final episodes of the sci-fi series Dollhouse, where in a post-apocalyptic 2019, humans were using flash drives to imprint themselves with specific abilities, such as the knowledge of another language or sniper skills. Maybe my flash drive would be useful in that scenario, but it could also do more harm than good, so I don’t feel comfortable leaving it behind. Out of the hypothetical capsule it stays.

And this is why you end up finding things like newspapers and a bunch of nonsense in these things. If you really want to preserve these types of items, donate them to an archives, where they will be properly stored in acid-free folders and file boxes in a well protected facility (I worked in an archives for five years, so I know a thing a two). Alternatively, you could hand them down to your kids, who will probably try to make some money off of them when you’re gone by selling them to Pawn Stars, because if there’s one thing doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, it’s reality TV.


On second thought, I’d put this picture of my dog in my time capsule. I’ll bet even aliens love puppies.


About Paola Mata

Mobile Developer @BuzzFeed. Co-founder of NYC Tech Latinas. Follow me: @PaolaNotPaolo

Posted on December 10, 2012, in Daily Prompt, Humor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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