A partial lunar eclipse over Berlin. (Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Some people seem convinced that when the total solar eclipse makes its way across the United States, it may mean the beginning of the end of life on Earth.

The prevailing theory: The eclipse will coincide with the arrival of the mythical Nibiru, a.k.a. “Planet X,” which could collide with our planet. (This won’t actually happen, NASA has said: “Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax.”)

Amid the apocalyptic declarations around one of the biggest astronomical events in recent years, interest in the solar eclipse is spiking, though not necessarily because people are frantically searching for answers to are-we-doomed? questions: None of the Top 25 Google searches for the solar eclipse include doomsday terms.

Still, one Georgia sheriff is getting in on the solar-eclipse excitement with a declaration of his own: “It is very likely this is the end of life on this planet as we know it.”

Well, then.

Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry made the ominous announcement on Facebook last week, urging people to stock up on supplies and cherish what little time they have left on Earth.

“Pregnant women should smoke and drink liquor during the eclipse,” he wrote. “This will prevent radioactive waves from making your ankles swell and being grouchy most of the time. Meanwhile, your other children will be on the school bus wondering why it got dark so early. An afternoon snack of potted meat will encourage them to ignore the end of the world as we know it.”

When asked about his own plans for his final days, Berry, who has a well-earned reputation for sarcastic communiques, told The Washington Post: “We have built an eclipse-proof bunker here, and when the dust settles and the zombies rise up, I will still be here.”

His Facebook post reads:

Sheriff Scott Berry announces that on Monday, August 21, at about the time your kids are riding home from school on the bus that there will be a solar eclipse of the sun as celestial forces no one understands will blot out the sun. It is very likely this is the end of life on this planet as we know it.

As your Sheriff I expect each of you to begin panicking today. There is no need to wait til Sunday night to buy bread and milk. The shelves will be empty already as vast hordes descend on grocery stores. If you wait, the only thing left will be potted meat and knock off brand cereal with such names as “RaisinO’s” and “CheeriBran”

Don’t look at the eclipse, unless of course you live in the backwoods of Tennessee. In that case no one will hear you scream as you stumble blindly into a moonshine still or a bear trap. Millions of Americans are blinded every week by staring directly into the sun, eclipse or not. Don’t do it.

Your sunglasses will not protect you from certain death if you look at the sun. However, for a mere $29.99 (plus $9.00 shipping and handling) you can order “stare directly at the sun wearing these” glasses from NASA and the Home Shopping Network.

Pregnant women should smoke and drink liquor during the eclipse. This will prevent radioactive waves from making your ankles swell and being grouchy most of the time. Meanwhile, your other children will be on the school bus wondering why it got dark so early. An afternoon snack of potted meat will encourage then to ignore the end of the world as we know it.

Leading scientists tell us that post eclipse the only two things they expect to survive are cockroaches and Facebook. Wait, is that one thing or two things????

Asked by The Washington Post why he would encourage pregnant women to drink liquor and smoke cigarettes, Berry explained: “It’s the last day on Earth.”

Sheriff Scott Berry. (Oconee County Sheriff’s Office)

“You might as well go out with a bang, right?” he deadpanned. “If you’re going to die anyway, I mean, s‑‑‑, smoke and have a glass of wine. It’ll be okay.”

Berry said he had been hearing about the total solar eclipse and decided last week: “I can do this. I can play with the eclipse thing.”

When the sheriff’s office started a Facebook page years ago, Berry was against it, he said.

Now, he is one of its favorite contributors.

Some of the department’s Facebook missives are mundane: “The intersection at HWY 53 and HWY 78 is open.”

Fire units are still on scene in the 1300 block of Malcom Bridge Road. This may impact after school traffic. Please plan accordingly.”

Per Oconee County Parks and Recreation Department, pets are not allowed in Oconee Veterans Park for the fireworks.”

But the sheriff has also taken to Facebook to “cancel” Valentine’s Day, and to troll drivers in the area:

7 crashes. 7 car crashes in an hour or so. Don't worry about it too much. If you apply yourselves and really try I am sure you can beat that number this afternoon.

Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, August 2, 2017

“Only wimps and sissies slow down just because there is standing water in the road and it is raining so hard you can’t see out the windshield,” he wrote June 29. “The real road warrior keeps their foot on the gas and tucks in nice and close on the car in front of them. On behalf of all of us in law enforcement thank you for keeping your speed up on wet roads. We love working crashes in the rain.”

He has also explained to potential job applicants that the department has a “simple rule: if you are full of drama and can’t follow directions during the applicant process, we will take that as a sign that you don’t need to be here.”

“I like to use the page for my little missives,” Berry told The Post. “I appreciate sarcasm as a form of communication, so I try to incorporate sarcasm at appropriate times.”

His deadpan solar eclipse post has gone viral.

Berry said in an interview that he stocked up ahead of the eclipse, buying “a lifetime supply of sardines and potted meat” to avoid being stuck with cereal.

“Have you ever had a RaisinO? I mean, have you ever seen that sad cereal? Man, I’m telling you — in our grocery store here, it’s about seven years old. Nobody has bought a bag of RaisinOs — nobody’s going to eat CheeriBran or RaisinOs.”

He said he has also ordered special sunglasses from NASA to watch the eclipse.


(Google Trends)

Read more:

Don’t be blindsided during the eclipse

The path of the solar eclipse is already altering real-world behavior

Facts about our sun and moon that you’re embarrassed to admit you don’t know