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Omar and Walter Matthau's Excellent Adventure


I've got a time machine now.

Never mind how I got it or how it works. It's swag and I'm not going to go blabbing about it, lest my corporate swag-fulfillers think I'm being ungrateful and all shitty about it.

I've got time travel. This guy doesn't. And he's totally jealous.

When you have awesome machinery such as this, something that will even supplant the TiVo and Xbox, or any other interestingly consonanted electronic device in the house, the challenge is finding an appropriately sensational use for this fine piece of engineering.

Should you... go back to mazeoloaic times when the first meatball was invented? Perhaps travel far into the future when single-cell bacteria lobby for their own set of radiation-free perma-caves? Perhaps you'd keep it simple and travel a week back and avoid eating at Baby Acapulco, thus avoiding four days of painful diarrhea. I know I'd do that. Diarrhea fucking sucks, as any time traveler worth his (or her, let's not be all puto about it) salty nuts will tell you.

I had a dream going into this and I would not be swayed.

"You're crazy!" one man said to me when my plan was revealed.

I slapped him.

"You're... you're insane!" a woman told me. I did not slap her. I do not slap the ladies.

"This is stupid!" a boy cried out. Then I had to wonder how all these people got into my house

Because, you see, my plan was two-fold. Four fold, if you were to fold it once more past the two-fold. But I wouldn't advise it.

Fold #1: To travel back to the year 1978.

Fold #2: To visit the Academy Awards of that year.

Fold #3 --

God DAMMIT. I'm going to need those extra folds after all.

Fold #3 -- To capture Walter Matthau, circa 1990, and bring him with me to 1978, thus ensuring myself entrance to the Oscars. (I may be a time traveler, but that doesn't mean I'd get in by myself. What am I gonna say? "Hey, let me in. I come from 2003." I would get slapped. Hard.)

Fold #4 -- Return to tell the tale.

I'm back and I'm telling the tale, so Fold #4 is pretty much squared away.

Folds #1-#3? Well, let me tell you.

Anyone who tells you time travel is easy is blowing smoke up your ass. Don't let them. Tinted water, maybe. But not smoke. You don't want secondhand ass cancer.

Time travel is a very involved convoluted process that involves buttons, equations, men in little pants to wipe the windows, cattle. And fuel. Always fuel. If you don't take enough fuel to make a return trip, you'll end up stuck in 1955 with Crispin Glover. That's no way to live. Or have lived. Or have lived in the past that was once the, uh... present.

Paradoxes. Avoid those if you can.

Due to the awesomeness of time travel, and the aforementioned cattle, tiny pants men, et al, I was soon on my way to 1978 on a vortex made of memory. But I had a stop to make.

The year was 1990. Mullets were everywhere. The Berlin Wall was being sold in pieces at souvenier shops all over Germany. Some things sucked and others blew, but it was a world very much like our own, only younger.

Walter Matthau was still hale and full of piss, vinegar and old-man jism. I don't know what he'd been drinking the night before, but it contained some amount of piss, vinegar and old-man jism. He was a few years away from the Grumpy Old Men films and the gnarly Out to Sea, which would signal the onset of senility.

"You're going to take me where?

In 1990, though, he was still a right bastard, a gusty barrel of man in wrinkly, flabby skin that had been in that state since roughly 1967.

I found his mansion in Beverly Hills and rang the doorbell. He answered the door in a bathrobe and chomping on a cigar.

"Hey there. Whaddaya need?" he asked. He was tall, much taller than I expected, and huge where it counted.

"I need to talk to you about something really important. But first -- do you think you can get me into the Oscars?"

Say what you will about Matthau -- he reacted very well to news of his own death 10 years hence. "10 years?" he said in wonder over a quick game of Scrabble. "I didn't think I'd make it another five."

He was also pleased to learn he outlasted Jack Lemmon ("Let the American Heart Association choke on that shit!" he cackled.) and that he'd get to make a movie with Dyan Cannon. ("Will she still be hot?" he asked me. "Sorta," I told him. That was fine with him.)

He tried to bet me that he'd make it past 10 years, but I told him I'd feel bad taking his money and that I didn't have enough fuel to just go bouncing back and forth in time trying to prove him wrong.

He kissed his wife goodbye and we hit the time machine.

"Are you sure you want to go the Oscars? There are a lot better places to go in 1978 than there," he told me as he settled his large frame into the soft leather seat of the passenger side in the time travel hoopty.

"Look, Matthau," I told him, "I didn't come to 1990 to drag your pouchy ass to 1978 to not go to the Oscars. We're going. That's all there is to it."

"Well you don't have to be a cocksucker about it," Matthau growled. "I thought maybe you'd like to go for a shvitz. I know a great sauna that used to be downtown..."

"No shvitz!" I cried. "Oscars!"

And so we went. We went to the Oscars.


The Oscars, 1978 ==>



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