October 20th, 2017

The magical “undo” command

Today I was trying to write a post and somehow, when I tried to cut and paste something, an entire paragraph and a half that I’d previously written suddenly disappeared. And yet all I had to do was click on “undo” and magically it all reappeared, just as before.

What a fabulous invention. The genius who thought of it should be commended.

It’s hard not to wish for an “undo” button to correct our errors in life and go back to the way it was before we made what we believe to be our mistakes. That’s the premise of certain movies—“Peggy Sue Got Married” is one that comes immediately to mind—and the message usually is to be careful what you wish for. You might think it would be an excellent idea to undo some decision in your life that led to sorrow. But would it be? What were the consequences of that same decision that you might not want to reverse or erase? And if you had it to do over again, might not the same forces compel you to make the same decision, even knowing what you know now?

And what do you know now, versus what you think you know now?

Those without regrets may not identify with this whole topic. But I’m not one of those people.

Even Nicholas Cage’s awful performance couldn’t ruin the movie for me.

20 Responses to “The magical “undo” command”

  1. Irv Says:

    In my opinion, the only reason to have an undo button for life is if you’re not happy with who you are right now. Remember, you are the sum of all the things that happened in your life, both good and bad. There’s no such thing as just changing one small thing; remember the Butterfly Effect.

  2. huxley Says:

    ASK ME

    Some time when the river is ice ask me
    mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
    what I have done is my life. Others
    have come in their slow way into
    my thought, and some have tried to help
    or to hurt: ask me what difference
    their strongest love or hate has made.

    I will listen to what you say.
    You and I can turn and look
    at the silent river and wait. We know
    the current is there, hidden; and there
    are comings and goings from miles away
    that hold the stillness exactly before us.
    What the river says, that is what I say.

    –William Stafford

    I once heard this on the radio read by Garrison Keillor for the “Writer’s Almanac” on NPR. At the time I had had a conversation with an old friend, who was also something of an old enemy, in which he probed an old wound — my decision to drop out of college, oh, so many years ago.

    This poem seemed like the perfect answer.

  3. vanderleun Says:

    Non, rien de rien
    Non, je ne regrette rien

    Ni le bien qu’on me fait
    Ni le mal, tout ça m’est bien égale

    Non, rien de rien
    Non, je ne regrette rien

    Car ma vie, car mes joies
    Aujourd’hui… ça commence avec toi!

  4. Sharon W Says:

    I’m always amazed at people that can state they have no regrets. I have many and it’s not true that changing one small thing changes everything. Case in point: I followed the advice of my friend on my first trip to France and made a little sleep area under my seat for my 7 year old son. When I checked on him an hour later, his mouth was wide open on the international airplane carpet while he slept soundly. That vision I can see like a photograph in my mind at will. Five days into our trip he began with coughing fits. He never could clean out a refrigerator, trim a tree, mow a lawn–anything that exposes him to molds, fungi and so on. Thankfully he is otherwise healthy adult and doesn’t get many colds, because when he does, he requires a breathing treatment. That’s just one example of several in the regret department.

  5. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    I have some regrets, some things I wish I’d done differently.

    That said, I have no real regret: I am the product of the good and the bad that have happened to me, and I would be a far different person had I gotten it all “right” the first time.

    And probably a far worse person. Life has a way of smoothing off the rough edges. Otherwise, I’d be one arrogant prick.

  6. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    I found this movie to be an example of the concept.
    Sliding Doors.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120148/
    There are multiple divergence points in the movie and each one is explored.
    Had I made one small change in life earlier (stayed in school ala Huxley) I may not have met the love of my life.

  7. KLSmith Says:

    I would never have donated a penny to political candidates. Went kind of crazy a couple of years ago, thinking it might make a difference. Lesson learned. It would have been much better spent as a gift to my kids.
    Love that movie!

  8. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    Amazing poem, huxley. Thank you.

  9. Yancey Ward Says:

    I wonder how many people know who directed Peggy Sue Got Married off the top of their head? If you don’t know who directed, it is nearly impossible to guess.

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    Yancey Ward:

    Well, if a person knows anything about Nicholas Cage’s birth name, it’s not that hard to guess.

  11. Tuvea Says:

    Between Yancey & neo I was able to make a SWAG.

    A trip quick visit to IMDB … and I was lucky!

    Thanks guys!

  12. Bob Kantor Says:

    This subject has been explored in depth in the novel “The Strange Life of Ivan Osokin” and in the film “Groundhog Day.” In the novel, the protagonist, when given the opportunity to live his life over with prior knowledge of his past, makes the same mistakes. In the film, Bill Murray keeps living the same day over and over again, in the course of which he undergoes a spiritual transformation and becomes a new and better person. The message of the novel is the mechanical nature of human action; the message of the film is the Christian message of redemption.

  13. David Swadell Says:

    Often I experience memories that trigger regrets. The ones that matter most are those involving actions that needlessly hurt people I loved. Having done all I can to repair those ancient wounds, such memories never keep me awake at night, but I nevertheless cringe sometimes when they come to mind.

    Sometimes I wonder what would have been had I not made certain pivotal choices, any one of which would have profoundly altered the course of my life. But since I like and respect the man I am today, since I love many people I’m blessed to know today, and especially since I am grateful for God’s grace and the many gifts I’ve been offered, I doubt I’d change anything if given the chance.

    Except, perhaps, that I might accept the position I was offered at Apple in 1983!

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    Bob Kantor:

    I’ve written extensively on “Groundhog Day.” But I hope not repetitively 🙂 . It’s one of my very favorite movies.

  15. huxley Says:

    Amazing poem, huxley. Thank you.

    Mrs Whatsit: You are most welcome!

    I think a lot of 20th C American poetry will go by the boards but William Stafford will endure.

  16. blert Says:

    Cage WAS supposed to be that way.

    He did a brilliant job of acting just like a marginal IQ high school student… who was destined to go no-where.

    OBVIOUSLY destined to go no-where.

    Which then turns the audience to wonder about Turner’s judgment.

    O’Conner and Persky were perfect.

    Everyone wanted to strangle Persky — and O’Conner was SO hip.

  17. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    huxley, I didn’t know William Stafford before. I’m working on it now. Thanks again.

  18. Lizzy Says:

    more recent film that shows how having an “undo” button is a gift and a curse is “About Time.” It’s a sweet movie where the do-overs cause all sorts of unintended consequences.

    As for Peggy Sue Got Married, there’s an Australian film that is similar and much better called “Me, Myself, I” where the lead wonders what life would have been like if she did settle down with her college sweetheart instead of pursuing her career. Liked that neither choice was perfect, just different.

  19. Ymar Sakar Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    October 21st, 2017 at 3:36 pm
    Bob Kantor:

    I’ve written extensively on “Groundhog Day.” But I hope not repetitively 🙂 . It’s one of my very favorite movies.

    Japanese novel materia has a lot of plot loops like the GDay.

    US Sci fi has some of it, but there’s something wrong with it.

  20. Ymar Sakar Says:

    http://www.crunchyroll.com/rezero-starting-life-in-another-world-

    This is a story about a protagonist that can’t die, because every time he dies, he restarts at a check point like some PS3 game.

    It’s part of the seinen psychological death stress that modern Japan likes for entertainment for 18-30+ year olds.

    It’s not Dragon Ball Z action for teenagers, that most people think of concerning cartoons or anime.

    http://www.crunchyroll.com/library/Toki_wo_Kakeru_Shoujo_-_Movie

    The other fictional material is harder to get, as they have to be translated into English from japanese text. But the West is pretty big on the visual anime/manga crowd now. I hear Europeans know more about Korean Drama series than the Koreans… now that’s something.

    Steins;Gate is on crunchy roll, the novel was pretty good sci fi although I never could figure out what genre it was. It doesn’t have a genre, just a demographic.

    Recently, there was this tv series, Sakurada Reset.

    Most of these can be found on crunchy roll, and they now provide first episode of some series without commercial breaks in 1080p.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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