This is the end
My only friend, the end
It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me
– The Doors
Hark thee heathens! I’ve been told that this will be my final post, especially since I probably won’t be able to post again until after May 21st, the advent of ‘End Times’. Oh, you haven’t heard? May 21st is Judgement Day. The doomsayers want you to trust that this time they have done the math. OK, but don’t panic because it won’t really be the end of the world, at least not yet; that won’t come for some five months. Yes, the end of the world, and technically speaking the entire universe, will come to an end on October 21st. Mark that day on your caledar for the foremost forecast is for fire, lots of fire… the ‘hell on Earth’ kind.
Now in all honesty, I really don’t want to make light of some folk’s fervent beliefs, but I do have to admit that in terms of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic prophecies a lot of us have been there and done that already. Many a false prophecy has come and gone, and many a bible thumper cum humper has reset his abascus and cancelled his Ebay listings.
This year’s doom and gloom events are interesting though; Judgement day just happens to fall on Armed Forces Day, while doomsday in October happens to coincide with International Babbling Day (tip: send your e-cards early this year). I guess this conjunction is particularly auspicious because at least for a short time, there will actually be something to babble about … that is before everyone shuts up permanently.
For the last few weeks, I’ve polled various people, both sinners and saints, for their opinions on this dark matter. Most have offered a dismissive albeit nervous laugh at the prophecy. Some feigned ignorance (as if that was ever really an excuse). My ‘significant other’ is a bit nervous about all this doomsday talk. In fact, she’s uncomfortable with people joking about it because, while I doubt she actually believes in the prophecy, she must be thinking ‘what if’ and ‘if so’ then ‘better safe than sorry’. As for me, well let’s just say that over the years, enough people have told me to ‘go to hell‘, so I guess I’m used to this type of metaphysical conundrum.
Now orginally for this post, I thought a bit of triagulation or a comparative analysis of various religious beliefs might be in order. Then again, I thought, what’s the point? There are a plethora of religions I don’t subscribe to that suggest that, as such, I won’t be saved. So, I figure why bother with statistical justification for the obvious?
Nevertheless, there’s one thing I know for certain: death is no laughing matter. Death will make a believer out of even the most zealous aetheist, but by that time it will be too late. Yes, death really sucks. It’s permanence goes on ‘ad infinitum’ … and trust me, that’s a really really long time!
Yes, I know these are photos of atom bombs.
Amazingly, I’ve never really come to terms with our mortality. In fact, I think the atheist view of death is pretty much a downer. At least most religious fanatics talk of kingdom come or reincarnation, though in the latter case, I’ve never really been sure what’s worse: the certainty and infinity of death, or the idea that we may have to come back and do 12 years of school again.
Anyway, so what are we supposed to do in the face of pending natural or in this case supernatural disaster? Here’s an idea: in Florida, when a hurricane approaches, native Floridians, like me, tend to throw hurricane parties. These are festive events at which beer and duct tape toting inebriates attempt to stare down these tropical menaces eye to eye (of the storm) and toast their fate and fortune (read: home owner’s insurance) or lack thereof (read: home owner’s insurance). Somone can play the fiddle while Rome and the rest of the world burns. Ok, ok! It was just a suggestion. What did you expect from a heathen, genuflectuation or a pot luck flogging ‘free for all’?
Perhaps there is a deeply instrinsic humanistic message to be gleaned from such doomsday prophecies, even if they don’t come to pass. Maybe we should all be a bit kinder to each other. Maybe we should learn to forgive and forget, turn the other cheek and live and let live. Maybe we should learn to love unconditionally, stop taking our existence for granted, and cast a prayer or two heavenward for our fellow neighbor. On the other hand, on May and October 21st, maybe we should just throw one heck of a wicked hurricane party and, as Jim Morrison suggested, get our kicks before the whole shit house goes up in flames.
Well, I guess for those of us who won’t be enraptured and saved this Saturday, there is a certain solace in knowing that all the people who would have said “I told you so!” will be gone, and that there will still be lots of other people around moaning and groaning for five months about the NFL lockout, doomsday, prefabricated bomb shelters, and really really strong sunscreen. And well, that’s probably good because, as I always say, misery loves company.
PS. Thanks for reading. Are you scared of dying or are you just dying to know one way or the other? Are you really worried about doomsday, or are you fairly certain you’re on heaven’s ‘A’ list? Either way, let me know.