The present, it must be noted, sucks.
Part of the reason it sucks is because today it's perfectly acceptable to say 'this sucks.' Our forebears would have expressed the same emotion with far more eloquence and wit, stating perhaps something like this:
The times in which we find our ourselves inspire equal portions of horror and dismay. Chaos and banditry surround us at every hand, and unrest greets us at every turn. Men and women of all ages have been eternally subject to the whims of fate, but never before have these whims been so full of malice and contempt for the very faces upon which they blow.
Now that's just lyrical. But it won't fit in a Tweet, so we moderns proclaim 'this sucks' and go on to yell at people on Facebook.
So I'm resetting my personal clock to an 1888 that never was. In my new reality, Charles Babbage's mechanical calculating engine worked. Nicola Tesla found a wealthy financier, and from his laboratory came wondrous machines that put those of Edison to shame.
Mighty airships ply the skies. Air piracy rises as well, and battles are fought in the heavens using Tesla's deadly rays, which dwarf and outshine the lightning.
Scientific progress made leaps that our own history skipped. A new world emerged, sounding of the hiss of steam, the determined turning of gears, and the crackle and hiss of strange energies barely contained.
I think that's a world worth living in.
Of course, I can't live there full-time, but I can don my steampunk ghostbuster's aether pack and my Victorian clothes and wander around SF/F conventions without getting hauled away to answer a lot of nervous questions about the machine strapped to my back.
I'll be cosplaying as a steampunk ghostbuster at the upcoming Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention, where I'm also on a number of paranormal panels.
(To read this entry in the large print easy-on-the-eyes edition, click here).
Yes, these are images of me, transformed into period-accurate photographs. I like posing for these, because no one smiled in photos until after 1950, and I just can't smile on command.
I know, I know, cosplaying is generally thought of as a pursuit for a younger, thinner crowd. But I enjoy it so I'm going to do it.
One of the (few) advantages of getting older is the realization that one no longer cares what anyone thinks of them. Act my age? No. I'll act as I wish, and if that offends anyone, I simply don't care.
So, if you are planning to attend the Comic and Fantasy Convention, and you see this gentleman in the halls, stop and say hello.
We of the year 1888 enjoy conversations with strangers, who most often are revealed to be friends we are meeting for the very first time.
Also, look up my panel schedule, and sit in on a few! I'm bringing some of my DIY paranormal investigative gear, and we'll swap stories. It will be, as we say, a smashing good time.