I read a story recently about a woman who found a bottle in Newfoundland that a Massachusetts Scientist put in the ocean in the 1950s to record currents for his study. It was one of thousands of bottles put in the water, with a note saying that anyone who responds to the Scientist will get a 50 cent piece. Today, there is technology far greater than putting bottles in the water, but then it was pretty standard.
What struck me was the woman’s reaction to finding the bottle, which was that she felt like it was an extraordinary piece from a time long lost. I started thinking, what if I put a bottle in the ocean and it was found over 50 years later, what would I want the finder to know?
I guess that I would start with the assumption that I may not be alive when this bottle is found, so maybe I would provide my kids Keegan and Kacey’s names, assuming they would still like me enough then to receive correspondence on their past father. I may put in my contact info, in case I am still around. Maybe state where and when the bottle was launched. But enough about structure.
I would ask if we have become a better world that focuses on solving problems, like climate change, water shortages, cancer (Disease) and inequality in education and income. If we became a more inclusive world, where we get along better with our neighbors, or are we more divided. Or about the same.
I would ask if people are kind and hopeful, as more are today. I would want to know if we still educate students the same way, or did we get smarter and figure out how to communicate the way students are ready to receive information. Do we still herald sports and entertainment over science and technology in the U.S.?
Maybe I would end with a piece of advice, assuming that I would have any to give. I would probably look up someone from the past and see if that advice is still relevant today and offer that advice in the future. Like an Albert Einstein quote: “Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors.” I recently read advice from America’s longest living married couple who are in their early 100’s and have been married well over 80 years. They said “If you plant the seeds together, then you enjoy the harvest together.”
Maybe I would annoy Keegan and Kacey and ask the recipient to remind Keegan to eat his vegetables, and Kacey to pick up his room. What would you do?