December 24, 2012
Snowy day
Snowpocalypse, now? (Nabil K. Mark/ Associated Press)

We have lived at the end of the world for some time. We are used to it. As long as there has been a world, someone has been insisting it was about to end. I’m sure the dinosaurs frequently murmured this to each other, between cleaning their feathers. 

But with Friday over and no end in sight, we’re entering an apocalypse desert. Just as 2010 spelled the end of those convenient New Year’s glasses with 0′s for the eyes, so too did 2012 spell the end of reliable apocalypses. None is predicted for quite some time. 

Sure, there’s the Yellowstone Volcano, which could blow at any minute, but we need something with a date. Sure, there are the solar flares that might wreak all kinds of havoc next year, but — where’s the months of anticipation and the theme parties? You can’t very well throw a convincing bash whose theme is solar flares.

And beyond that, the pickings are slim. 

In 2036, around April, an asteroid is scheduled to “dance” with us. But it looks like it won’t even hit! 

In 2038, Unix 32-bit time will overflow. But after Y2K, it seems unwise to hope for anything too big. 

Nostradamus set our end time for 3797. Rashad Khlifa thought 2280 was the deadline. But prophets have been wrong before.

Gone are the halcyon days when a minor end-of-the-world was expected every year or so. Now what do we have to look forward to? Just living is frightening enough. 

Sure, in a few billion years, the sun will expand and swallow us. But after our years of perpetual apocalypse, that seems like an awfully long wait. 

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.