by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 5/2011

What if they gave an apocalypse and no one noticed?

For months, we’d seen the billboards – Global earthquakes, the Rapture, and end-of-the-world May 21, 2011 at 6:00pm!

Sue and I spent our presumably last day on Earth walking a beach that Saturday afternoon; the sky was foggy and the seagulls were quiet – certainly harbingers of global doom. Animals just know when the end is coming.

We hit a local clam box where we were amused to see that NBC had a countdown to the end of the world, and began to enjoy our last Earthbound meal with our server, who introduced herself as, “Your Judgment Day waitress, I’m also available for confessions.”

And I nearly busted a gut when the elderly couple at the next table ordered Southern Comfort, neat.

As expected, 6pm came and went, which led to discussions of why the we didn’t feel the Earthquake from other time zones who’d already reached 6pm – or what about Arizona, did the prophecy factor in daylight savings time? Ohhhh, it was CALIFORNIA time. Rigggghhht.

Look, for many of us, the end of the world just isn’t that big a deal anymore. Remember that the world was predicted by many cultures to end in 2000? Because as mysterious as the universe is, it works in base ten and loves round numbers. And of course there was the planetary alignment in 1979 that was supposed to throw the solar system off balance. And the tragedy of the cult that so believed a spaceship followed comet Hale-Bopp that they committed suicide in preparation for the end of days. And let’s not forget the Asteroid designated 1997 XF11 that will pass within 30,000 miles of Earth in 2028 before making a leisurely return pass in 2037.

And finally, as we all know, the big “kaboom” day is supposed to be December 21, 2012. According to extensive research and informed sources (Wikipedia) The Mayan Prophecy is 120% accurate. On December 21, 2012, we can definitely expect unprecedentedly gigantic solar flares causing the continents to shift, the rise of the machines, a nearby supernova, the explosion of the black hole at the center of our galaxy, a gamma ray burst, asteroids / meteors / comet impacts, a massive extraterrestrial invasion, a magnetic pole shift, a new ice age, the previously invisible 12th planet Nibiru smashing into Earth, or just a normal day where nothing much happens at all. Everyone on Earth is unanimous in their opinion that one of these scenarios will definitely occur that day.

Look, my problem with Harold Camping, a radio host and leader of an obscure Christian movement, who’d proclaimed that the world would end on May 21 is not for his faulty prediction and scaring the hell out of a lot of people. I know nothing about him except he seems sincere in his beliefs, and good for him trying to get the word out.

My complaint is that he made it very clear that the “Saved” would only number 200,000 and would not include gays. Or Muslims. Or Hindus. Or ANYONE that had not been born again. Or pets. Or children.

I know many people who are not born again, are Hindu, Muslim, or gay. I know folks of many faiths and persuasions. Camping’s exclusions hardly seem fair. Hell, you cannot predict an Armageddon where only 200,000 out of six and half billion people get saved, but an enormous majority of our best citizens and their beloved cats and dogs don’t get saved. And what about all the dead people? I mean, it’s just not fair. The odds stink.

At this writing (May 23) Camping now predicts the end for OCTOBER 21. As my favorite uncle is fond of saying, “Well, good luck with that.”

Wait, I just thought of this — what if – work with me here — suppose one scientist, somewhere on Earth, realized the planet was doomed, and launched his son in a rocket to another planet like Superman. Boy, is that scientist going to be mad. His wife is going to kick his butt to the curb when she realizes dad sent junior into space. Not to mention that the baby will have SERIOUS abandonment issues once he makes it to Mars and finds our Earth didn’t explode.

Well, we’re all still here so let me end with this – if the world is going to end, so be it. Frankly, I’m pretty tired and could use the rest. Also, for the 6 billion “unworthies” minus 200,000 folks on the “saved list,” there really isn’t much we can do expect have a drink, dig into the nachos and enjoy the show.

Happy post-judgment day to all! Let’s do it again on October 21!

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