Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Apocalypse



Like any quasi-intelligent American, I woke up Thursday with trepidation because I was unsure whether or not it would be my last day on Earth. After all, if the Mayans are correct I had but a precious few waking hours to make my existence count. Should I call in sick? Should I buy a lottery ticket? Should I purchase a 2013 Mercedes SLK and spend my final days hand in hand with my beloved wife cruising with the top down?

Since I was unsure where to turn, I decided to seek out final day advice on the Internet. My first stop was Foxnews.com which had two articles to offer. One was called “The steamy climax: Searching for sex before the world ends” and the second was called “How to Cope With Impending Doomsday.” Prioritizing on the fly, I ignored the salacious fluff piece and went directly to the serious journalism where I discovered that there were a growing number of people attempting to have sex before the end of the world.

While many clubs across the country were offering doomsday-themed parties, some have simply opted for ads on Craigslist seeking “temporary apocalyptic companionship.” Exhibiting a disarmingly-subtle grasp of the double entendre, one professional bartender was quoted as wishing to “go out with a bang” while another young woman was concerned that she would meet her demise in the midst of a “dry spell.” Personally, I found it refreshing that there were still people out there whose goal was to become the Earth’s last case of gonorrhea.

Far be it from me to judge, but if you need Craigslist to tell you who to spend your last hours with it is possible you have already made a few poor choices in the past. Isn’t there a family member, childhood friend, or regional sales director more worthy of your last moments than a complete stranger? Even if you do not believe in God, wouldn’t it be prudent to simply hedge your bets a little and avoid making, “Your e-mail description was somewhat misleading but given our time constraints we will make do” your final words?

Even more frightening is what happens on December 22nd when all of these people realize that nothing occurred? I can just see the guy waking up next his cousin in an Arkansas Super 8 or the model finding herself in the embrace of a Dungeons & Dragons fan-fiction editor and exclaiming, “I should’ve just rented a Porsche.” I can only imagine the number of Facebook privacy settings being altered Friday morning.

Now thoroughly disturbed, I went on to the “How to cope with impending doomsday” piece. Apparently a recent survey identified 6 million Americans who fully expected the world to come to an end on December 21st. That is an unnervingly-large number of people making their day to day decision under a cloud of impending doom predicted by a culture that was apparently unable to foresee their own end. Just for perspective, that is like convincing the entire population of Missouri that they will die simultaneously and should act accordingly. I can only imagine the film projects and TV pilots that were green-lit because the producer didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings and assumed it would not matter anyway.

The article quoted Scott Bea, a clinic psychologist, who revealed that pessimistic people are more likely to accept the idea of a cataclysmic demise than optimistic people.  He felt that the media has played a large role in selling the Mayan apocalypse idea. His advice was to remain calm and prepare for the holiday season.   

I am glad it took a clinic psychologist to surmise that pessimistic people are more likely to accept the possibility of a global catastrophe than optimistic people. I never would have cracked that code. I think I gained more insights from the TOMS shoe ad on the side of the page than the article itself. Given the title, I was expecting a checklist of breathing exercises or at least a recipe for Apocalypse Pot-Pie. I haven't followed a hyperlink that misleading since I got an e-mail from the prize department at ReelyfreeiPad4U.com.

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