Hello? Hello? Is anybody there? Hello?
I’m writing this column on Dec. 13, eight days before the end of the world.
With any luck, it will appear in the Friday, Dec. 21 Newsleader. Unless, of course, the end of the world shuts down the printing press, not to mention all writers and readers – forever.
Dec. 21 is supposed to be Doomsday. There are three theories that predict the Last Day.
One claims the Earth will be ruined due to a gravitational effect caused by the alignment between the sun and a black hole in the center of our galaxy. I imagine that will cause us to be squeezed into little dots or stretched out like taffy strands.
Another theory says a reversal of the north and south magnetic poles will cause chaos and destruction. Sounds to me like just another normal day on Poor Planet Earth.
A third theory is the “Mayan” prediction that time will run out Dec. 21, causing an immediate halt to the planet and ruining my vacation plans.
Scientists are refuting all those theories, claiming they are all nonsense. But – hey – what do scientists know? They’re the eggheads who came up with that ridiculous theory of global warming. Anybody who watches the Fox Channel knows that’s a bunch of baloney.
For the past few days, I’ve quit making Do Lists; I’m not paying any bills; housework is out of the question; any plans beyond the next hour I’ve put on permahold. Why do anything? If the Final Cancellation comes Friday, why bother now with such pathetic little human endeavors?
I have spent a lot of time lately, however, debating about what to have for my last meal. I’ve decided on a late dinner for Dec. 20, a few hours before midnight when I assume the Big Kaput will happen. I’m going to have a rotisserie-roasted chicken, along with mashed potatoes and asparagus with hollandaise sauce. For dessert, I’m going to eat – piece by piece – an entire pumpkin pie covered with Reddi-Whip. (The pie is already ready. I made it this morning.) As I digest that dinner, I’ll pop open a bottle or two of champagne. Friends and neighbors will join me. We’ll all toast to what a heck of a life it’s been as we await the ultimate Send-Off. Then, as we watch the clock, seeing the last precious earthly minutes tick-tock away, we’ll all toast again, clanking our glasses as we kiss our butts goodbye.
Many years ago, when I was a kid, I saw a movie called “On the Beach.” It was about a group of Australians living their last hours before a nuclear holocaust. That film disturbed me deeply, and I thought for days about what I would do if I knew The End was nigh. I concluded I would break into a candy store and eat all the candy I could get my hands on.
In ninth grade, I was sitting in civics class, my eyes fixed upon the classroom clock, wondering if at any second, at about 1:20 p.m., we students and the creaky old teacher would disintegrate. That was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. How dumb to be sitting in a civics class at the edge of the End of the World.
This time around, I wish I had a better “End” idea than eating a roast chicken and gobbling down a pumpkin pie in terminal gluttony. It would be better to make some kind of extravagant final gesture, like waving from the top of the Eiffel Tower or wind-surfing in the air of the Grand Canyon. But, lacking travel money, the piggy dinner will have to do.
If we get lucky and the world doesn’t end, we can all celebrate, but I’ll be somewhat disappointed because, once again, here come the do lists, the house chores, the bill-paying and my dreaded and futile annual New Year’s diet plan.