We’re all going to die!!
Today’s the big day. The end. As in THE END. The Mayan calendar runs out tonight and the world ends. Tomorrow does not come. It is sort of like Groundhog Day the movie, except you don’t keep waking up in the same place every morning. Instead, you don’t wake up. Ever.
So what is your strategy for the last day of your life? Of everyone’s lives? Are you still working your way through that “must do” bucket list, or did you hatch a plan to get to one of those “secret” places that survives THE END?
Psssttt...a little secret society aside here...I don’t mean to cause any last-minute panic, but if your escape hatch involved a certain mountain town in France and you aren’t there yet, you’re screwed, just like the rest of us. They’ve shut down the town. Really. No outsiders allowed. A guy texted saying he got there early this week and the locals chased him away. As he ran for his life, the last three days of it anyway, dodging rocks they were throwing, he said he was pretty sure they were chanting “le nut” or something like that. It didn’t sound good. He is now on the other side of the mountain trying to dig a tunnel. That doesn’t sound good either, but at least it will keep him busy until the end comes.
And if he digs really fast he may actually be one of the chosen few the aliens whisk away to safety. This may sound like sour grapes since they didn’t let me in either, but have you ever heard anything so absurd? I mean really, who could dream up something as ridiculous as some secret place where some supernatural being saves the chosen few from THE END, and leaves everyone else mired in permanent blackness. Took some imagination to come up with that one, eh?
What? Oh, that’s right, we don’t have to keep this secret anymore. It is too late for anyone to get there and others already blew our cover anyway. The town is Bugarach, population 189, and it is nestled in the shadow of Mount Bugarach. It is the quaintest little village you never got to see, because you unfortunately died before you got there. Just like me, if I don't get moving, and my buddy who has never before used a shovel in his life. He used to be an investment banker for goodness’ sake, doesn’t have the calloused hands needed for tunneling.
The reason it is too late to get there isn’t due to overbooked flights. The mayor of Bugarach has threatened to call in the military to keep out New Age “pilgrims” who have been flocking to the town since they heard aliens hide within the mountain—aliens who will take true believers to safety when time runs out for the rest of us. Talk about over-reacting, and no sense of humor: Why would any mayor not want people coming to his town after they sold all their worldly belongings, completely changed their lives—and in some cases their names—because they were savvy enough to decipher some secret script that seemed gibberish to the rest of us?
Speaking of, it is not too late for you to get to the Yucatan Peninsula, where all this started. It won’t save you from THE END but at least you can watch the end where it began. Symmetry is at least charming, if not always helpful.
Just in case you have somehow missed the hubbub, here is the back story. Tonight the Mayan calendar ends, and since the Mayans have never been wrong about anything else—except maybe sacrificing in droves their best, brightest, and prettiest, instead of their worst, dimmest, and ugliest—that means the world ends. You don’t need GPS to follow that, the map is very clear.
Some non-believers have dared doubt the facts of this situation, and have committed blasphemy by bringing math to the equation and saying unclean things like “uhmmm, the calendar doesn’t actually end, it just rolls over to start a new 394-year century.” Talk about heretics! A 394-year century? We all know a century is 100 years. Always has been, always will be, right?
“Voodoo math” non-withstanding, true believers know time ends because someone found an inscription in stone at a Mayan site in Mexico’s Tabasco region. Yes, Tabasco, just like the sauce, so obviously the place really exists. The stone with the inscription was pulverized somewhere along the way, so non-believers have dared question its authenticity, and they claim it may have been misinterpreted. Can you imagine? What next, are people going to start doubting if the Ten Commandments are real?
Speaking of missing the hubbub and all the supporting data: Did you catch the 2009 film called 2012, which starred the one and only John Cusack? Well, I missed it too, but true believers tell me it puts to rest any doubts about the facts of the ending of all of us. Just like Charleton Heston’s biography about Moses put to rest any doubts about the facts of the beginning of all of us. If Cusack, and Heston, bought in, shouldn’t the rest of us?
That’s proof enough for me, anyway—but you are of course free to do as you wish. While you are silly enough to stay here and go through the motions of your last day, and may even take a shower before you go to bed tonight even if you are going to disappear with a "Poof!" at one-hundredth of a second past midnight, I am booking a flight to France, buying a pick and a shovel, and helping dig a tunnel. So long, suckers!
And now: Fish for Friday
E-Christmas card? No thanks. Read "A Don's Life," by Mary Beard, in the Times Literary Supplement online, December 16. [personal communication; excerpt:]
I have a soft spot for Christmas cards...both sending and receiving. As for sending, I rather take pleasure in choosing the right card for the right person (all mine are from the Fitzwilliam Museum this year—as you can see [to the right])—the nice Madonna for those I know or suspect are religious types, the Quentin Blake of the choristers, for those who would like a bit of a Cambridge feel, etc....Limerick of the Week:
It's classic ritualised activity—as utterly meaningful as it is totally pointless....
Forty-five years ago today, my son
Was born; I'd passed on some genes, Nature'd won,
Life would proceed,
Happy birthday today, my son, have fun!