Low Concept

I Think I Should Get More Credit for Killing Hitler

All I’m looking for is a thank you.


Photo illustration by Slate. Photos courtesy of the German Federal Archives, Lothar Spurzem, Georg Pahl, and iStock.

This story was originally published in Funny or Die’s The Occasional.

I think I should get more credit for killing Hitler. And I know you’re thinking: “Who’s Hitler? I’ve never heard of a guy named Hitler.” But the only reason you’re saying that is because I went back in time and killed him. If I hadn’t built that time machine and gone back to kill Hitler, you’d all be saying to yourselves, “Man, I wish I had a time machine so I could kill Hitler.” In fact, growing up that was such a common sentiment it never dawned on me no one would know who he was when I returned. So I took out this ad in the Times to help explain why everyone owes me. I’m not looking to be a hero. But a thank you would be nice.

First. Who is Hitler? Good question. Hitler was the dictator of Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. He started World War II. He took over most of Europe. And, most horrifically, he was responsible for the Holocaust, where he systematically slaughtered more than 6 million Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals. Sound like someone you’d want to get in a time machine and kill? Yes. That’s exactly what I thought.

“But wait a minute,” you’re thinking, “Germany? That peaceful country that created the magical yogurt that cures diabetes? No one from Germany would do that.” Yes, they would. In fact, you wouldn’t know about Der Yogurtten Nein Diabetes because it would not exist. Because I killed Hitler, Germany spent the 1930s and ’40s developing that yogurt instead of committing mass genocide. Now, did I create that yogurt? No. That would be taking credit away from those brilliant Jewish, Gypsy, and homosexual scientists. But am I indirectly responsible? Yes. I am.

“But what about World War II? I’ve never heard of that!” Well, remember the Everybody Gang Up on Italy War? Instead of that we had World War II. It was basically the Everybody Gang Up on Italy War, except a lot of our effort was focused on fighting Germany, and instead of lasting two weeks, it lasted six years. Plus, we had to fight Japan at the same time. There was no, OK, Now Let’s All Get Japan War that lasted two months. All of it was World War II. It was really bad. Like, so bad we actually renamed the Great War just so we could put into perspective how bad it was. We retroactively named the worst war the world’s ever seen World War I because this war was so much worse we had to make it a sequel. And, again, all I’m looking for is a thank you.

You want more? Fine. The award-winning video games Call of Diplomacy, Call of Diplomacy 2, and Call of Diplomacy: Ghosts? Those were all me. Michael Jordan’s moustache? I’m the reason it’s cool and not insane. Our Moon colony? Honestly, I can’t figure out exactly how I’m responsible for that one but it has to be me because it certainly wasn’t there before.

Now, can I prove any of this? No. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit myself for not bringing a newspaper headline with me, or a picture from a museum, or anything Tom Hanks has ever made (he was that guy from Bosom Buddies and then nothing). But I didn’t. And no, I can’t make another time machine. The original one burned up on the return trip and it relied on car parts found exclusively in Volkswagens, something you’ve never heard about. Plus, if we’re being completely honest, there’s no point in making another one. I’ve already done the one thing you’d want to use a time machine for and it hasn’t exactly been a boon for my social life.

Just a little credit, that’s all I’m asking for. I don’t need a statue, or a plaque. I mean, sure, some sort of medal or presidential recognition would be great, but honestly, I’d settle for the people I meet in the street looking me in the eyes and saying, “Thank you” instead of, “Why are you telling me about how you went back in time to kill a child?”