Come try out my invention -
a human teleporter.
You'll never find a better way
to make your travel shorter.
Scientists said it can't be done,
...or maybe they said "shouldn't".
But give up on my big idea
is something I just wouldn't.
After several unsuccessful trials,
and a lab rat spread across many miles,
I've worked out nearly all the quirks.
A human subject ought to work.
You'll come out on the other end
in a rather embarrassing pose.
It's possible there'll be a swap
of your left hand with your nose.
The device may have some trouble
with teleporting clothes.
Some of your looser, extra parts
could end up elsewhere I suppose.
But otherwise, it's pretty good.
Cross your fingers.
Here it goes.
First, I must mention the rat from this poem. While it is a shame that it was accidentally spread like butter across the landscape, it knew the risks when volunteering for the teleporter experiment. Also, the rat DID sign a waiver beforehand.
This poem is a favorite of mine because teleporters are a spooky science fiction technology to ponder. There are so many ways a teleporter can go wrong. In fact it’s harder to think about how a teleportation machine could go right. For starters, you could end up inside a wall or the ground if calculations are slightly off or if something moves at the destination. And what happens with all the air at your destination? Would all that air suddenly be inside of you causing cells to explode? Would there be a deafening thunder clap as air is instantly shoved aside, similar to how a lightening bolt works? Would you be exactly the same person when you materialize at the other end? How would you know there weren’t a few brain cells swapped around by accident? Could the machine be used to make multiple copies of a single person and would those copies get along with each other? I’m sure you’ve laid awake at night wondering about this and other future technologies as I often do. I won’t even get started on the potential mishaps with time travel machines.
Given all the potential for ending up like the poor sap in this poem, a hand for a nose and a misplaced foot, I don’t think I would be brave enough to try out such a device. If you do invent a teleporter, sell it as a package delivery device. You’re not likely to find a large group of human volunteers to give it a go. Then again, I never thought people would want an obnoxious tracking device that buzzes every 5 seconds to carry around in their pockets. But here I am, hunched over my tiny cell phone typing poems on a tiny screen, straining my middle-aged eyes. Maybe someday an occasional missing limb will just be one of those technology annoyances we all put up with for the convenience of having a teleporter.