People spend the GDP of Peru in therapy trying to cope with the crap that happened to them when they were kids. It's such a 20th century approach to childhood suckage. Maybe soon, we'll be able to pay to turn our childhoods happy retroactively. Click through for our roundup of ideas for making your childhood a happy one, retroactively, ranked by difficulty. (With time-travel being the hardest.)

Hypnosis. It's been proven (in court, no less) that hypnosis can create false memories. So you could pay a hypnotist to give you falsely happy memories of your childhood, erasing your sadistic home-ec teacher and replacing her with a friendly polar bear. You can also use hypnosis to regress yourself back to childhood (temporarily, we hope) so you can have a funner time the second time around. Just don't overshoot and regress to a past life. The best thing would be a version of the Tantalus machine from that Star Trek episode, which implants fake memories directly into your brain.


Falsify the evidence. Last fall, researchers reported that if you show people a picture of something that never happened, they start to believe it actually did. The researchers showed people doctored photos of a protest in Italy and the Tiananmen Square protests in China, and afterwards people remembered the events happening that way. In an older study, scientists showed people a picture of a child at Disney World shaking hands with Bugs Bunny. The subjects started to believe they'd met Bugs Bunny at Disney World when they were kids. Which is impossible, because Bugs Bunny is a Warner Bros. character, not a Disney character.

So in a few years when Photoshop gets way better, you may be able to pay someone to construct new family pictures for you, altering some details digitally to make your childhood seem happier. Maybe they can even be holographic and interactive, and you can display them around your home.

Take a pill. Researchers from the excitingly named Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics say that memory-erasing pills are probably not that far off. (They put out this press release to tie in with the movie Paycheck, which many people wanted to erase their memories of watching.) The tricky part would be selectively erasing the bad memories and keeping the good memories. Or maybe, like Johnny Mnemonic, you'd rather just erase your whole childhood. Then at least ignorance would be bliss.


Clone yourself. Despite what many science fiction shows and movies have told us, your clone will be a baby. So you'll be able to give your clone the perfect awesome childhood you never had. It won't be the same as fixing your own childhood, but you can have a happy one vicariously.


Change your birth order. Some psychologists claim that your birth order, whether you're the first, second or third born, alters how you remember your childhood and influences your personality traits. (First-borns are leaders, middle-borns are flexible, youngest-borns are creative.) Probably a lot of this has to do with how you experience childhood at the time. But some of it may also be retroactive, to do with how you reconstruct your childhood memories. So all you have to do is put your older siblings, or yourself, into cryogenic suspension or stasis, so that you swap ages. That will have the effect of making you the older (or younger) sibling, and may help to change how you view your childhood.

Travel in time. This is probably the hardest one to pull off at the moment. Plus, even if you could time-travel, you might have some fussy restrictions on meeting your past self. So you'd be stuck trying to find ways to fix your childhood without interacting with your young self. So you're stuck with killing everybody who was ever mean to you when you were young. But if you could get past that hurdle, you could become your own cool aunt/uncle.


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