Dec. 17th, 2011

I've played all kinds of competitive games at bars. There are the old standards of pool or darts, two things I stink at. There are trivia games, which I usually excel at unless I'm playing against, say, hyper-intelligent robots from the future. There are even oddball sports like bocce ball, which I seem to have a knack for crushing despite having no idea what I'm doing.

My favorite bar, _The_Stopped_Clock_, has a different competitive game: bragging. Specifically, this game involves telling everybody about your past exploits roaming the time-stream, and attempting to one-up the competition with tales of your awesome ability to bust heads / make trouble / be awesome throughout the course of human history. This is, I am fairly sure, an unusual competition in most bars, unless they serve a clientele composed of the clinically insane. At _The_Stopped_Clock_, on the other hand, this activity makes perfect sense, because everybody in that establishment is some form of time traveler. No, really.

One night last week there was this new guy in the bar who had thrown down the gauntlet, bragging-wise. This effectively put him on offense, with the other regulars playing defense by trying to tear down his achievements. As I was just there to drink beer, I played the role of spectator, watching this Timmers guy try to hold his own.

Timmers was, as far as I could tell, a native of the present-day, or the immediate vicinity. He wore a white lab coat, had thinning hair and dorky coke-bottle glasses, and either 1) had severe Asperger's Syndrome or 2) was a dick. He was plainly some kind of mad scientist, and wanted everybody to know what a genius he was.

"I invented science," Timmers told us all bluntly. He was sitting in a stool with his back to the bar; Edgar polished glassware behind him, while Retro Retro and the other bar regulars clustered at a respectful distance around Timmers and heckled.

"Oh, come now," said Sir Attaccus disdainfully. "Science wasn't invented; it was developed."

"Or possibly discovered," added Retro Retro.

"I think science was actually contracted," said Bobby Saturday. "Like a disease."

"No, I invented it," said Timmers. "Every bit of it. My idea."

"Really," said Retro Retro skeptically. "Better tell us how that went, then."

"It was easy," said Timmers. "I visited every great scientist who ever lived, and explained all their great ideas to them, weeks before they came up with them on their own."

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