Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!
Dear Dr. Eldritch,
I hope this reaches you, as I'm writing from another dimension. I was walking home through a really dense fog late one night, and took a shortcut through a field. It seemed a lot larger than I remembered, but I kept going, and then I was walking through crops, not just grass, and I came out in what looked like a medieval village.
Of course, I didn't believe it at first. I thought it was some festival or Ren Faire, and I got mad because nobody would speak normal English. I was just about to go back across the field when some big guys in armor showed up, carrying real swords. They didn't talk much. They grabbed me and hauled me off to a castle. That's when I realized I wasn't anywhere near home.
After a couple hours in a cell, two priest guys came to talk. They could at least understand me, although they didn't recognize basic words, like when I said I was walking home from the mall. They got real excited when I said that we didn't have castles or peasants where I came from. It turns out there's a prophecy that a stranger from far away will find some Sword of Power and save the kingdom from an army of monsters created by an evil wizard. Since there's just such an army heading for this kingdom, everybody here seems to believe that means me.
Next thing I know, the priests and I are sent off with a group of soldiers, riding horses across the country to find that sword. They're all excited, but I've got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It feels like I've got more chance of getting killed than saving any kingdom. What makes it worse is that everyone's all in awe of me, like I've already done something amazing.
The Evil Wizard knows about me, too. We were attacked by some huge birds, and then nearly crushed by a rockslide. These were both really close calls, and we haven't even found the sword or gotten to the monster army yet. I don't want any of these people getting killed protecting me, when this is all just a big mistake.
Here's the thing: I want out. I'm sure these people can find the right stranger and solve their problems without me, so how can I get home?
-- Alex, from "Beyond"
GO HOME? Why? I should tear a hole in the time-space continuum, reach through and slap some sense into you, you ungrateful little nobble. What are you thinking?
Okay, I know your situation is scary and disorienting, and I shouldn't make it worse by yelling at you. It vexes me when people win the Lottery of Destiny, and they want to trade it in for a used toaster. One of the cruel ironies of Life is that the people who are thrust into these situations are the least likely to appreciate their circumstances. Like in the "Wizard of Oz" when Dorothy ends up in a place MUCH, MUCH better than Kansas, yet all she wants to do is go home! What the Oxford is up with that?
So, are you a billionaire rock-star/fighter-pilot/model in this universe? That would explain why you want to chuck the life of a conquering hero and the gratitude of an entire kingdom with all the accompanying riches and power. Or are you merely craving the familiarity of a one-bedroom apartment and your job at the "Kitchen Kollection?" Well, screw that! There are thousands of people who would sacrifice precious body parts to get the Call to Adventure. Their role-playing games and fandom conventions are pale substitute. Granted, a lot of them couldn't fulfill a prophecy about getting a bag of chips from the grocery store, but you get the idea. They yearn for what you've got. Don't be so quick to fold when you're holding the archetypal equivalent of a Royal Flush.
I know it's frightening now. Things will get bad, and then even worse. But you've got Destiny on your side. Stick it out, Prophecy Boy, get in touch with your Inner Hero, do the best you can, and all will work out triumphantly. Then marry the princess and bask in the glory of your victory for a few years. If you still want to return to this mundane existence after that, so be it. If you give up now, the best you can hope for is a long life filled with regret, misery and shallows. So stop whining, get out there and kick some!
Good luck, and let me know how it comes out!