by Jeff Deck | 11/23/99 6:00am

Dear Kronos, I hear you're the god of time. At least, I'm pretty sure you're the god of time; I don't have time to look it up for sure. I hope you will hear me out: I have a few issues and requests concerning time in general. I know you're a pagan deity and you probably don't like getting invoked by a Protestant. Well, just try to bear with me.

First of all, I'm a little confused by your methods. The other night I spent four hours and forty-five minutes completing a CS exam. It seemed to go by like nothing, which was fortunate, because otherwise I might've gone absolutely nuts and started to ride on the mechanized blackboard before finally being dragged away by campus authorities. So, why should such an extended amount of time go by so quickly while, say, an average-length, sixty-five minute English class can seem like a fathomless eternity?

Would it really take so much effort for you to be consistent? You must pardon my bluntness, O father of Zeus, but why is the typical hour spent fooling around with computer games so unequally fast compared to the typical hour spent learning about multidimensional arrays? Is this some kind of Olympian joke?

Yeah, I'll bet you and your buddies up there in your little pantheon love to laugh at poor Jeff when he sprints to work in the morning at three minutes 'til ten, or when he has to physically keep his eyes pried open (like some Clockwork Orangian nightmare) during a lecture's interminable drone of words issuing into the air like "interlocutor," "mitigation," "cataphoric," and "implicature." I'll bet you like fiddling with time so I'll run into a dean at the precise moment that I'm colorfully cursing out the world, or that I'll just miss Topside's business hours on some Wednesday night and arrive at approximately 11:32 p.m.

Sorry, Kronos. I don't know what came over me for a minute there. But I am still curious about your methodology, and I'd like you to explain it to me sometime. True, there have been certain happy coincidences that you've brought about, such as meeting people in my travels at an exact location at an exact point in time which otherwise would not have occurred, were it not for that exact location and exact point in time. There have also been some not so happy coincidences. Did I really have to be subjected to that demonstration of tonsil hockey by that couple over there? Did I really have to open the front door of Collis right in that cute girl's face? Did I really have to see that guy scratching his crotch?

All right, Kronos, it's time for me to make a few requests. Do you have a pencil and paper handy? Hell, you probably don't need that anyway. You can just write on the back of a maenad or something. Okay, here goes.

I would like you to shorten the psychological time of classes to about fifteen mental minutes. The typical student will be able to go to class, sit down, and in about the amount of time it takes to eat a breakfast sandwich and an order of fries, he or she will be done. That's it. Wham, bam, thank you professor. Of course, the actual time will have been an hour passed, and the actual knowledge acquired will still be an hour's worth. Just a little more painless. You can do that, right? C'mon. A guy who can rule the Titans can do just about anything.

My second request is that you increase the psychological time of pleasurable occasions. I mean, pleasant occasions. Let's say I'm hanging out with my good friends for a few hours, just generally having a fun (completely innocent, we needn't add) time. Make that seem like several hours. Make it seem like a Fun Marathon every time, like we're surpassing Chuck Yeager's record in breaking the Fun Barrier, like we're taking fun to a metaphysical, spiritual level worthy of the best televangelist's most convincing swindle, Hallelujah praise God.

When I'm, say, enjoying the company of the fairer gender, you must stretch each of those minutes out into a blissful expanse of time. Aren't these moments worthy of a greater portion of life? Why is it statistically that one spends more hours of one's life on the john than one does having a seriously good time?

Anyway, Kronos, I know you don't like invocations more than eight hundred words long, so I'll bring this to a close now. Please take my requests under consideration and act on them promptly. If you do this, I won't tell people that according to classical mythology, you married your sister and attempted to swallow all of your children. That'll be between you and me.

Sincerely, Jeff Deck