History Repeats, Again!

History Repeats, Again!
History Repeats, Again!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

End of the World. Again.

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, it appears that the world might end again.

The problem with end of the world predictions is that they are mostly inaccurate. Besides, people spreading end of the world rumors often have ulterior motives like working for Goldman Sachs or a selling a used Nissan.

Throughout history, the world has ended more times than it has begun. Nostradamus, Mayan calendars, and recent shortages of iPad components have all fed our tendency to assume the worst.

Some doomsday scares have been more real than others. In October, 1962, the entire town of Madison, WI thought the world would end during the Cuban Missile Crisis. So they threw an enormous party. When people woke up hung over the next day, many regretted that the world was still there.

Every religion that I’ve been a member of has some variation on the Armageddon theme. To make things worse, The End is usually coupled with very long lines on judgment day. I question any doctrine that threatens humanity with long lines. Waiting hours on the possibility of grace while brimstone falls from above sounds a lot like being invited  out for sushi in Cleveland. A just God would not do this to us.

The end of the world brings out so many hucksters, false prophets, and sign-wielding doomsayers that it begins to resemble Venice Beach.  Some of these folks are quite convincing.  I’m ashamed to admit how many false Rapture, Apocalypse and "Limited Time Offer!"  scams I’ve fallen for.  I still think that Groupon deal for reserved seating in heaven was worth the price but, in general, anyone peddling shortcuts to paradise should be viewed with skepticism. After all, we’re talking about getting into the afterlife, not cutting in line for the Space Mountain ride at Disneyland.

The bad thing about the end of the world is how weird people can get. Some folks will act pious, others will sin like there’s no tomorrow. As tempting as it is to rob a bank to fund your bucket list, I suggest you try to remain calm. Like all advice I dispense, this is mainly aimed at myself because, honestly, if I knew for sure that the world would end tomorrow, I’d probably trash the place. But on the off chance that we’re still around the day after, I’d rather not be asked to clean up. 

So don’t overdo it, Don’t PanicTM,  and don’t bother cleaning your garage. Try to look on the bright side: The end of the world may be the fastest way to get “Dancing with the Stars” off the air.

I Feel Fine


  1. At least you got your novel published before Armageddon. I'm worried I'll still be in query purgatory when the end comes. Think of all those readers with all that time on their hands while they wait in line!

  2. Great point - and what an opportunity to sell lemonade and bottled water!

  3. I'm a fan of the Norse view of the end times: all the heroes who died in battle team up with the gods for a giant battle... And the will lose! This inspires people to live for today. Also, it challenges our cultural conception of courage; courage is heading into a battle you know you'll lose, just as we live knowing we'll die (and won't be rescued by Heaven). This might be why you don't see many people trying to advertise that Ragnarok is going to happen on May 21st. If so, then so what?