– William ShakespeareWell, it seems as if following the warnings of ‘End Times’, we are all still here. In fact, the only things that went ‘POOF’ yesterday were my popcorn maker and Harold Camping’s false prophecy of Judgment Day … again. Yes, he pulled this back in 1994, too. But hey, I guess the media would prefer we not buy into that old saying ‘once a joke, twice a dope’. News ratings were up, twits twittered and tweeted their brains out on Twitter, and all in all a good time was had by all, except perhaps for the new age Mayans who are still holding out for the apocalypse on Dec. 12, 2012.
Nevertheless, let’s be honest: as you nodded and laughed with the skeptics, how many of you worrywarts with sweaty palms and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) clenched your butt cheeks together while you feigned smiles and expelled hearty guffaws that would put Santa Clause to shame? Yes, in the comforting isolation of your own homes, how much hand writhing and skin shedding was really going on?
Face it. I’d imagine there were a fair number of people with conflicting feelings on the whole doomsday phenomenon. In psychological terms, this is what’s known as cognitive dissonance. As Wikipedia defines it, it’s that “uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously”. Passive-aggressive types know all about cognitive dissonance. For those who are guilt laden for one reason or another, this cognitive disequilibrium prevents them from ever really enjoying anything in life. It’s a shame, too, because some of those ‘if the world ended today’ jokes and #endoftheworldconfessions tweets were a hoot!
Cognitive dissonance raises it’s ugly head in other areas of life, too. There’s a phenomenon known as ‘buyer’s remorse’, for example. Poor souls exhibiting such behavior are often found spending all Sunday at the mall herniating their wallets, and then wasting most of Monday waiting in customer service lines trying to return everything … except for those corn removers and that pair of kinky boxer shorts with the vibrating elephant trunk.
Why is self delusion and denial still alive in 2011? While “nothing much to speak of” spread across the datelines yesterday, some twits were still tweeting about Y2K. Lord! Talk about hold outs! It’s been 11 years since the Millennium and I get the feeling that there are some zealots out there who steadfastly continue to set their computers back a year each December.
Yes, zealots, and especially Bible thumpers, die hard. In the face of ridicule, they stand behind their beliefs and convictions. And, in some twisted way, as they hold their ‘the end is nigh’ signs, they exhume confidence – a trait we all value and aspire to attain. They look you straight in the face with spinning eyes and furrowed brows and have no bones in decreeing you’re going to hell. Moreover, doing so brings them bliss and peace of mind – two other elusive states we all desire.
So, perhaps there is something to be learned from all this doomsday talk. Perhaps we should reexamine our belief systems and the conventions we hold so dear, while we seek ways of addressing our individual and collective human frailties.
Of course, if you really bit into this doomsday fairy tale and are less willing to eat crow, I guess you could maintain that no one was saved, nor was anyone raptured or enraptured … and that come doomsday, October 21st you will have the last laugh … briefly, before you go ‘POOF’.
PS. Thanks for reading: Did you spend Judgment Day mulling over the state of humanity? Were you planning on singing with the angels or playing cards with the sinners as we wait for the NFL lockout to end? Are you still holding out for 2012, or are you just trying to hold onto your sanity? Let me know. I’m a good listener and won’t judge you. Really.