How did this happen? Once it's a tradition, it makes sense because it works, but someone would have to try something very inane to find its hidden properties. It's like safely eating poisonous fugu blowfish by preparing it just right - the first person to try it must have been a very lucky lunatic.
So I went to my time machine to find out! I keep it in a secure, air-conditioned storage facility, for dramatic purposes. When I got there, it was missing, and all that was left was a typewritten note:
"Dear Ted, Sorry to steal your time machine, but I needed it for something more important. You'll understand when the time comes. Love, Your Future Self. P.S. Ambergris actually smells very pleasant when it mellows out for a few months. Check the Wikipedia article, you goof."
Huh. It sounds like something I would say, sort of, I guess, but if I were ever going to steal a time machine, I would totally leave a fake note like that. How can I tell it was future-me who wrote that, and not my evil robot double or something?