1980, of course. I’m sure that Bill Gates would be happy to get a little venture capital, in exchange for stock options. So would Nintendo. And so would Sam Walton, and Steve Wozniak, and the McDonald’s Corporation…
What? Dude: I exist in 1980. Social Security card and all: I’ll just go on the grid, pay my taxes like I’m supposed to, and be long gone before anybody can get around to noticing that I’m not ten years old*. And my parents weren’t idiots: I have even had the “How would a time traveling version of myself convince you two that I was for real?” conversation (this is what happens when you have a geek for a son). We’d be able to put a suitable cover story together, particularly since I’d be establishing my bona fides early with some truly huge sports betting**. And screw the timeline: in 1980 I’m alive, my sisters are all alive, my wife’s alive, everybody else can go whistle.
Also, I need to convince my father to quit smoking. Which would be the larger reason for going, really.
*I didn’t pick 1980 out of a hat. It’s close enough to the present that I can maneuver through the world without too much trouble and far enough from it to make the whole thing exotic. As for cultural events… hah! Who here wouldn’t want to go to the red-carpet premiere of The Empire Strikes Back?
**Don’t need to look it up, either. “Americans take the gold in Olympic hockey. Whatever odds you like, sir.”