Message to Me From the Future
by Jeff Lewis

Babblog’s hosting provider has a tool that tracks the search engine queries that have induced surfers to click over to Babblog. It lets us know that, in the last month alone, four people have accessed Babblog in search of “testicle soup,” three tried to find out more about a “wriggly ranch,” three more looked for “prostitute cusco” and a couple searched for “fried mayonnaise.”

These are unusual searches, no doubt, but Babblog received an even more curious hit from a googler in Victoria, British Columbia: “nardball little league.” What is the meaning of this? I celebrated baseball’s Opening Day by writing “Nardball: An Ode to the National Pastime,” and have also written an essay on Victoria for Babblog. That seems like an odd coincidence, particularly because there is no such thing as nardball, apart from the strange game played by a few kids in Carmel, California during the eighties. I looked it up to make sure. I looked up nards, too, and it isn’t a word that lends itself to youth sports.

Unless you were a part of the nardball scene in the eighties, you would not use the term in conjunction with “little league” because there is no nardball little league. A lot of organizations use the acronym NARD, but none are the type to sponsor a little league: the National Association of Rescue Divers, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, National Association of Retail Druggists and the National Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy. And if they change policy and decide to sponsor a league, none are odd enough to brand their form of baseball “NARDball.” Incidentally, nard is also an ancient Persian board game, somewhat like backgammon, which probably doesn’t have much of a little league following, even in Canada. Additionally, a nard is a fragrant flower.

There must be an explanation for this query, “nardball little league.” I need an explanation. I can’t live in a universe that allows Canadians to randomly google “nardball little league” one week after I write the first article in the history of the world about nardball. In the world I know, Canadians leave their doors unlocked, sport mullets, mispronounce “out” and lose their hockey teams. They don’t google “nardball little league” without a good reason.

So far, I have two theories to explain this. Both have noticeable flaws, so I will also forward a third, slightly improbable, theory for you to chew on.

Theory #1: A Sanctuary for the Liberal Elite

It’s likely that the nardball players I witnessed in Carmel twenty years ago were the type of kids that get picked on unmercifully once their bully counterparts start puberty. People who enjoy having their friends roll balls at their nards often live outside of the mainstream, I posit. Perhaps when these young men—Thomas and Jonathan—grew up, their ill-treatment inspired them to stick up for the disenfranchised, the downtrodden; they spent the ensuing years fighting the good fight. They joined the ranks of the liberal elite (certainly the elite—it was Carmel, after all) and, unable to stomach the results of the 2004 election (years ago, they’d left Carmel to avoid ribbings for their nardball exploits), headed to Canada, home of pleasantness and inclusive marriage laws. Victoria, with the most moderate climate in Canada, was the logical destination.

After a winter in Canada, however, Thomas and Jonathan began to miss the States, specifically the pork tamales. They googled “nardball little league” to judge whether it was safe to return to Carmel, hoping that nardball had faded from people’s memories. My suggestion to them: You’ll love Victoria in the summertime and as for the tamales, here’s a tamale primer with a bushel of recipes.

Theory #2: A Typo

If Occam were to apply his razor to explain this query, he’d probably explain it away as a typo, as my wife did (the “h” and “n” are close together on the keyboard; the googler could have meant “hardball little league”). According to this theory, then, a googler with typing deficiencies wanted to learn more about hardball little leagues, as opposed to softball leagues. That seems to be more reasonable than the series of “what ifs” proposed in Theory #1.

Still, if you type in “nardball little league” to google, only two pages come up, both in Babblog (The same goes for “nardball” on its own). The top choice is very clear about the content; its title is “Nardball: An Ode to the National Pastime.” So the point I’m getting at is this: the googler wasn’t overwhelmed with options, but chose to click on a page that obviously wasn’t about a hardball little league. Once on the page, the googler immediately left it. If he was curious, the curiosity lasted less than a second.

Theory #2 is the most likely explanation, but I am still skeptical.

Theory #3: A Message From the Jeff Lewis of the Future

The content of the search, the search location (a city where I’d like to live), and the fact that I know there is at least one Jeff Lewis living in the vicinity points me to another explanation. This could be some kind of message from the Me of the Future, who has gotten in a time-travel-related bind.*
*Or it could be a pre-message, alerting my subconscious to an upcoming coded message (if this is the case, I really wish I would have made my message/pre-message more clear).

This is a very common scenario in time travel because time travel doesn’t work very well. There often is a need for the traveler to give himself subliminal messages in order to avoid any “consequences” brought on by the time travel. For example, let’s say that in the year 2046, I decided to travel back to 2004 to try to learn why Americans didn’t care that much about the Abu Ghraib scandal, but because my motor skills at age 76 were poor, I accidentally dropped my 2040s-era iPod in Condoleezza Rice’s office. If that were to happen, Dr. Rice could reverse engineer it and use the technology to drive Apple out of business, which in turn would send Pixar’s stock plummeting. No Incredibles 2 or Toy Story 3! I’m not exactly sure how time travel works outside of science fiction, but I’m pretty certain that if I made that bad of a bungle, I’d have to figure out a clever way to get some help from the Jeff Lewis of the Present.

Granted, this theory is a little far-fetched because I am not the time-travel sort; I have an intuitive understanding of the dangers of time travel and, moreover, I prefer trains. The bottom line is, I don’t like “consequences.”
Still, I have an active imagination, so I’ve decided to look into the possibility that “nardball little league” is, in fact, a message from the Me of the Future. Here are some intriguing points in favor of this time travel theory:

Unfortunately, it occurs to me that if the Jeff Lewis of the Future is in a bind and is trying to contact me without alerting Condoleezza Rice, I may have just blown his cover, which would be a shame. I hope he accounted for that.

Copyright Jeff Lewis, 2005.

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