Damn--I missed Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day.
The initial post (follow the above link) provides some lovely ideas for what to do to celebrate. And some of them are implemented in some of the videos:
- "Have you considered your choice for overseer for the 2008 election?" I particularly like the protagonist of this one--he has a good build and voice for the role.
- Riding an escalator.
- "Why does everything in the past smell of coagulated dairy products?" (This one has the disadvantage of not being out in public, though.)
There are a couple other videos, but I didn't think they were as good.
The main problem with this overall idea, I think, is that I suspect very few people would figure out that any of these activities are intended to suggest time travel. I like the idea of making it non-blatant, but I suspect most people would just write it off as general craziness. A lot of the specific cool ideas rely on the witnesses being pretty observant and/or having pretty good memories.
In that category, I especially like a suggestion by Hec Scrivener involving appearing to swap places with yourself a year in the future, and a suggestion from Altourus: "Dress like you normally would, carry a picture of you dressed as you are. Run around a corner screaming, then double back and change. With the picture walk around asking people if they have seen this person."
Possibly my favorite specific item is one mentioned in the original post, and implemented in that first video: handing out a phone number and saying things like, "In 20 years, call this number. You'll know why." My main concern about that is that it would be a big letdown--you wait 20 years, you call the number you were given even though you still don't know why, and the person who answers has no idea what's going on. Very anticlimactic. (I'm reminded of the time that my mother got a mysterious phone call, and was unaccountably happy about it; I pestered her to tell me who it was, and she said she'd tell me in five years if I asked her then. I did, and she had no idea who it had been. I was terribly disappointed.) So I'd rather do something like what xkcd did a few months ago--if you give everyone a shared resource (like an address), then at least the people who show up can interact with each other, whereas if you give them a telephone number, they can only interact with the one person who answers the phone (if anyone).
(Also, the shared-resource thing can result in future activity. I seem to recall that the Pterodactyle Hunt at Swarthmore originally got off the ground when some people put up signs advertising it as a joke; people showed up for it, but there was no hunt. So some of the people who'd shown up for it decided to have one for real later, and thus was born a twenty-year tradition.)
Anyway, I think the whole Pretend to be a Time Traveler thing is a fun idea, even though I doubt I would ever participate myself, and I enjoyed reading people's suggestions, even the less-workable ones. I'd love to see a group like Improv Everywhere put together a group rendition of it.