The Time Machine

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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The Time Machine I rolled over and noticed that I had slept through my alarm clock, which read 7:30. I jumped out of bed and got to his lab as fast as I could. I arrived at a little grey, painted shack, which had a little sign on the door that read "Johnson's Pharmaceutical lab". Not knowing what to do, I rang the bell. Ben came to the door and looked out to see if anyone was with me. He then opened the door with a loud creak and rushed me inside. He had a nervous look on his face and walked fast to the next room. He told me not to be alarmed but to come in with him. The second I reached it I saw a gigantic contraption. Red, green, orange, and purple lights shot through the room; I looked closer and first believed that it was a spacecraft.

I noticed a screen that read various dates on it. "Don't be alarmed, it is my work; a dream, Anyone's dream: a time machine. Not only have I extensively studied history, I have lived it. I have talked and mixed with the greatest minds ever, but of course my studies go deep. From the languages they speak to the clothes that they wear and the food that they eat, it has been a long road," he told me beaming from ear to ear. "Since you seem to be interested I decided to let you be the first to see it. Only to spot my travels, mind you." "I believe I could go right now," with a look of disbelief on his face I continued. "My mother and father are full blooded Italian. I know the culture and the language, oh the language. We made trips to Rome every summer when I was young. I only knew English at the time but after summer after summer of coming home with bloodied, bruised knuckles from my grandmother and her damn yardstick I learned quickly. She did not know English and if you asked her she told you that there was no language of the sort; that Italian was the only true language. I guess I bought it because," I began to speak in Italian without missing a beat, "I came home without an accent and now my Grandmother and I have a wonderful relationship." Ben's mouth dropped. It took him a second to figure out something in his head, and then he asked me who I wanted to meet. Without a sputter I said, "Niccolo Machiavelli." He replied, "Ok, good choice, I will prepare the machine, and pick clothes of the time from my time wardrobe and all you have to do is listen to me. The machine will allow you to be in Florence for only one hour. If you are not back within the allotted time you will be left behind," I nodded, "although you speak well you should not talk to anyone unless needed. It is a lot different, and the period that you will go to is very dangerous. It will be towards the end of Machiavelli's life; he will be living outside of town on his families' estate. Find him and be prepared to have a conversation with him. By then you won't have much time. I have been to this period and have programmed the machine for safe keeping in a barn on the edge of the city. You must be urgent, and don't get distracted. Get dressed, you will be leaving within the next half hour. One more thing, you must not disrupt history in any way, you can observe and ask questions but you can never alter thoughts or ideas with thoughts and ideas of this day and age." I don't know what I was thinking, but my mind was focused and I was very relaxed. I look back on it now and don't know how I could have done this with ice-cold veins. I thought about my reading, and started forming a few ideas to talk about. The night before I read about some people from that era; Gaspara Stampa and her Petrarchan love sonnets, Castiglione and he famous book The Courtier that continues to influence Europe's upper class in civilized behavior, some of the times most influential painters; Raphael, Parmigianino, Titian, Giorgione, di Vinci and of course the sculpturer/painter Michelangelo. I came across a man who I had yet to read about named Niccolo Machiavelli. I'm not quite sure what it was that caught my eye, but I think it is the name of a T-Pac album, which definitely has nothing to do with this guy.

He was the second to Martin Luther as the most influential person of his time and created a political revolution with his instructional handbook, The Prince. His work capturered his thoughts he had of what the new sovereign states of France and Spain were pursuing in his beloved Italy. He believed if Italy were to be rid of these foreigners the Italian government would have to adopt the methods of France and Spain. Although his ideas never happened, early in his career he was imprisoned, tortured and finally exiled to his family's estate outside the city where he completed his work that were published in 1532 after his death. His name in later years became known for dishonesty and treachery, which is probably where T-Pac ripped it off (Mayfield Publishing Company 12:323). I felt pretty good knowing that I had read up and wouldn't make a fool of myself in front of Ben or in the recent case, in front of Nicclo. It brought out a lot of pride knowing I would not only be representing myself but my family whose roots go back as far as we can trace it. I was ready, dressed in green tights, poofy legs that made me look like I was wearing a dress and a floppy black beret, I was ready. Ben brought me out and helped me into the machine and wished me luck. As he belted me in, I asked him when I was supposed to get out of the machine and he simply replied you will know. I told him not to worry, that I knew what to do. He put the hatch up and sent me on my way.

Like that, I was transported to Italy September 6th, 1525. A little bumpy, but a nice ride because the straps served their purpose. When I hit the ground the hatch went down. I unbuckled and climbed out into a musty old abandoned barn. The ground was muddy and my elf like shoes got dirty as I approached the door. I opened it and saw a magnificent view of the city of Florence. Not knowing where I was, I found a little old lonely man in the distance looking after his herd of sheep to ask for directions. I couldn't have run into a nicer man. He asked me why I would want to talk to such a man as Niccolo Machivelli and told him I was family. He told me that he was off limits to go and see, but he would tell me on one condition: if I helped him with the herd and had lunch with him, I agreed. It took ten minutes to put the sorry looking ten sheep I have ever seen in the stable and then we walked into the cottage. His daughter had been making lunch and had it on the table when we walked in. She was a beautiful young girl. "Welcome," she said," father I see you have a new friend." "Yes, his name is," as he bumped me in the ribs "Antonio Corrisi," I told her.

"My name is Karisa Monelli, and this is my father Georgio," she replied with a laugh. We sat down and began by praying. We then started to eat what looked like my grandmother's manicotti, but did not taste quite as fresh for the times and technology where a little different. I felt like I was at home because the comfort of my grandma's voice was there and Georgio was talking about all the local gossip he had heard while in the fields. I knew that my time was despairing but the comfort level had swayed me not to think about it. I wanted to stay but my purpose was not there and I knew I had a chance to go back and visit so I finished up and told them Niccolo was expecting me. As I left, Karisa told me that I always had a place to stay if I needed one. I took her advice and left with a smile on my face. Georgio followed me out and pointed to a brick colored cottage that was about two estates down and told me that Machivelli lived there. I agreed and told him I would be back some day. I walked away and wishing I could spend more time there but knew that I had something more important to do.

I arrived at the cottage and knocked at the door, pounding on the doorknocker that looked like some sort of a demon. I noticed how large and extravagant the door was; it stood fifteen feet tall.

Some guy with a withered white beard opened the door. The man wore some sort of a robe of the time and had a surprised look on his face. He could not have expected anyone that day because of his appearance but immediately invited me in. I walked into a large room that smelled like a dead carcass. The walls hardly looked like the exterior because they were almost coal black and the ground was covered in everything imaginable. I saw a dead chicken along with feathers fieces and a sheep tied into the corner on his last leg. At that point I knew the man was Niccolo. This old man looked crazy from being locked up this large littered cottage. He sat down at a table with a mess on it and continued to write. I sat down beside him and he offered me a gullet of wine. I took it because I knew that it was disrespectable not to. At that point I had a half an hour to talk with him.

I began, "I know your situation and I have no criticism for you but I would like to ask a few questions and be on my way," he agreed and I continued with," Why do you have such a negative view of human nature and believe that human nature is weak?" " I know what you think," he replied, "because you are like every other simple person that has asked me that but I will be truthful and express myself in a manner that you will understand," he took a drink and continued, "I was brought up with the same morals as you and through observation of individuals manners my views changed dramatically. Watching people betray, demoralize, manipulate and take over our country with such ease made me change all that I think. People do not care about others unless it furthers them in what they do. My outlook on mannerisms was lost when I found out that my early optimism was wrong. I cannot believe that people do good things in good nature when I have been burned so many times. Instead, be what people want. Advance and take foreign land and redistribute it to your own people. Read what I just finished writing (Mayfield Publishing Company 12:323)," ""A prince should try to avoid, above else, being despised and hated; and generosity results in your being both. Therefore it is wiser to incur the reputation of being a miser, which invites ignominy but not harm (Handout p.2)."" I continued on, "Why do you live in such a manner? Why do you live among such dirty quarters?" " It all started when I was banished from the city of Florence to my families' estate. I find no joy in spending my time among the farm dwellers because that is what their life is solely about. I would much rather life like this, writing my final work then waste my time talking about sheep," as I heard a low murmer come from the corner where the sheep lay, "The people of Florence want to treat me like an animal, so I will with peace," he finished with a look of content.

"What has become of your family," I asked? " The pressure of my work hit my two daughters hard and they fled with their husbands and my wife pasted away a year ago," he replied.

"From your passage I just read, do you think your life has reflected on your writing," I asked knowing the answer.

"Yes I have grown to be a grumpy person. My family is gone and with it my mind, it is hard for me not to be the way I am," he said with a scowl.

"Gratis," I said giving my hand to him, " My time has expired, I would like to say that you are an amazing person wish you the best. Keep thinking the way you do. You would be surprised to know all the people that are reading your work." "Ok, ciao have a nice journey." My time was up and it was hard to just leave but I thanked again him and went out the doors as fast as I could. I made it to the barn just in time. As I locked myself up the hatch lifted and I was back in the twenty first century. Ben and I talked for hours about the trip. He was surprised that I had so much success and congratulated me. All I could do was thank him. He was the sole reason that I had gone for an unforgettable ride and it excited me more knowing that I had many more to come.