The end of the world: Upside and downside
By John Kelly,
I ignored the first e-mail I received informing me that the world will end on May 21, 2011. Just more spam, I thought. I ignored the second one, too. And the third. But by the fourth, I was having my doubts.
I mean, even a blind pig finds a truffle every now and then. Maybe an Internet crackpot stumbles across the truth.
You have to admit, the math is pretty bulletproof: “Years ago we learned from the Bible that the flood occurred in the year 4990 B.C.,” read the Web site the e-mails directed me to. Factor in the day Christ was crucified (April 1, 33 A.D., apparently), do some more multiplication, mix in some spiritually important prime numbers, and all signs point to a massive earthquake destroying the planet on May 21.
It’s a Saturday.
Actually, the world doesn’t end completely that day. That just marks the beginning of the end. May 21 kicks off five months of torment, with the lights finally going out for good on Oct. 21. The e-mails I received said: “I just wonder why your office have [sic] not taken any action to investigate on this matter when the whole world already know [sic] about this.”
Why haven’t we taken action? Well, first of all, I don’t think the whole world already knows about this. I haven’t seen a run on milk and toilet paper at the Giant, for example. And it’s probably better to keep this hushed up. Can you imagine the panic that would ensue if The Washington Post plastered this headline across the front page: “World to end on May 21; Day of ‘Rapture’ will begin ‘5 months of torment’; Pepco warns of outages; Snyder vows to continue City Paper lawsuit”?
No, better for us to slip the news into my column in the B section so people can calmly and quietly get their affairs in order.
I’m not saying this will be easy. A colleague of mine here at The Post (I think we all got the e-mails, from a California-based sect) mentioned that he has Red Sox tickets for May 21. He wondered if maybe the world could end on the 22nd instead.
Apparently not. If only the crucifixion had been on March 30. . . .
I feel sorry for the Red Sox’ pitcher. Imagine if he has a perfect game going into the ninth inning, only for it to be ruined by geysers of molten lava erupting from the field. I mean, how do you even score that?
But there are some upsides to the world coming to an end on May 21, 2011. No more car payments. No more “Jersey Shore.” The pollen has really been getting to me this spring, and the end of the world as we know it will probably put my suffering into perspective.
In fact, May 21 is going to be a serious reality check in a lot of ways. People always say, “Live every day as if it’s your last.” Now we’ll have a chance to really do that.
Not that I ever thought that was good advice. I mean, I probably wouldn’t spend my last day on Earth mowing my lawn, but if I did that every day — that is, not mow my lawn — it would soon be a terrible mess. On the other hand, I might choose to spend my last day on Earth rolled up in a ball, rocking gently while weeping and cursing my fate. The last time I did that, it just annoyed the people I sit next to at work, who got tired of having to step over me.
Here’s the main benefit to the world ending on 5/21/2011: We’ll finally get some answers. I was pondering some big questions the other day, all the apocalyptic e-mails having put me in a reflective mood. Where did God come from? What was there before the Big Bang? What’s outside the universe? How come these pants don’t fit me anymore?
Perhaps the universe is like the desktop on your computer. Now we’ll get to see what’s behind the desktop. Is it pure, white light, the cleansing rays of a benevolent spirit? Or is it another desktop, but with all the icons arranged differently?
Well, that’s all I have to say on this matter. I guess we just sit and wait now. I’ll probably mow the lawn anyway. Just in case.
On Thursday I wrote that former White House secretary Lillian Cox went to Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. She didn’t. She went to Walter Johnson.