Apparently, there is no lack of national pride when it comes to crazy, and you even get to pick the nation.
Thank Quetzalcoatl the world did not end last week, or maybe that it didn’t in spite of the Mayan god of sketchy predictions.
My original intent, like many other wannabe writers—otherwise known as bloggers—was to post a bit about the pending cataclysmic demise of the planet BEFORE it was to occur. But, then I figured, why not wait to see if it really happens, and in the meantime, spend that valuable pre-apocalypse time consuming ample quantities of my holiday liquid alcohol delivery system (a.k.a. eggnog with brandy).
The idea was not that I might forestall the inevitable, but rather that I just wouldn’t give a shit if it happened, having been fortified by copious amounts of high ABV% adult beverages.
It is not that I have not been preparing for this long predicted, but apparently, faulty prognosis for some time—well, not like some people (read on)—but I have been by gathering reports from all over the globe as to how people were getting ready.
Before we get ahead of ourselves (since we now appear to have plenty of time), what specific scientific studies got people worldwide to discuss even the possibility of such a dire outcome, like the end of life, as we know it?
Long before the modern Mexicans developed the ritzy hotel zone of Cancun in the Yucatan region of Mexico, there was a vibrant civilization of native people, known as Mayans, who predicted the end of the world thousands of years in the future (yet somehow neglected to foresee their own near-extinction coming a hell of a lot sooner).
This area is now famous to hordes of tourists who come to see massive pyramids with tiny little, steep steps. Years ago, Number Two Daughter and I risked life and limb as we semi-crawled to the top, while the wife-person stood at the base, checking to see if my life insurance covered me for non-union Mayan construction techniques.
BTW, nowadays—probably thanks to a post-Mayan Mexican OSHA—tourists are no longer permitted to climb the steps to the top. My guess is that sunscreen-coated roly-poly Americans were coming off there like bowling balls, causing untold havoc and destruction amongst the unsuspecting visitors below.
A cryptic carving was once discovered during an archeological dig that was subsequently “read” by experts, and by read, I mean, by scientists who study this stuff and get to make facts up because they attended years of boring classes and have seen all the Indiana Jones movies.
“They” claim the carving revealed something called The Mayan Long Count Calendar, which spanned over 5,000 years, starting back on 3114 B.C. (which I think means Before Computers were around to Google stuff on Wikipedia).
As you probably heard, the dates on that calendar came to an end on December 21, 2012, which either meant everyone on earth would perish in a horrific, fiery death…or possibly that it was time to run by the hardware store and pick up a free calendar at the check-out counter.
Since we are still here, for all I know some ancient Mayan’s kid made these carvings while dad was out hunting woolly mammoths.
But, the media loves a good doomsday scenario, so there has been a plethora of publicity mentioning that we are about to perish.
The Mexican government—which covets tourism like their economy depended on it—used the Mayan Long Count Calendar to create ads in travel magazines to lure visitors to witness the beginning of “new cosmic cycles.” The tourism agency predicted over 50 million visitors to the Yucatan for this (non?) event, which are many times more tourists than in a typical year.
In other words, come lay on the sun-drenched beaches, drink cheap beer and stay for our apocalyptic party.
Some people took a much less festive view of the predictions, or it would seem.
I read of a survey of Americans taken last summer, which found that 12 percent of the people polled were said to be “worried,” and found some credence in the cataclysmic calendar predictions.
This was in spite of numerous attempts at debunking by science luminaries such as Neil deGrasse Tyson (the guy who keeps telling Jon Stewart that his globe on the Daily Show opening sequence is rotating in the wrong direction), and Andrew Fraknoi (who has lamented that our schools don’t teach “skeptical thinking” skills).
As a result, some people went to great (and sometimes very expensive) preparations for what they thought was coming.
Some guy in China spent about $160,000—his life savings—to build a very un-seaworthy looking ark, powered by three diesel engines.
There had to be alcohol involved in this project.
Another guy in China constructed a three-ton steel ball, 13 feet in diameter, which he supposedly designed to withstand a volcano, tsunami, earthquake, or nuclear meltdown.
Looking at the picture, it barely survived putting it in the water.
Some people are flocking to a small village in the French Pyrenees, waiting for a spacecraft rumored to be hiding behind Bugarach Peak; waiting for the spacecraft to do what, I am not sure.
Television shows such at the National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers and the Discovery Channel’s Doomsday Bunker convinced one guy, with his wife and six kids in Utah (why is it always someone in Utah?) who created a hide-away with 2,500 pounds of grain, eight chickens, and 14 guns.
Let’s see; given the family of eight, plus the eight chickens, they seem to be two guns short.
Others may have wished to consider a Tsunami Pod, which cost $450,000, but does include a flat-screen TV.
My favorite source of really reliable preparation is the Apocalyptic Prophecies magazine, which presented the case for the world ending on December 12, 2012, yet the cover label instructed shop keepers to display the issue until February 11, 2013. Now there’s real conviction.
Looking out the window, it appears you have avoided falling over the final cliff.
I, on the other hand, may still face a dire future come Christmas morning, tomorrow, when the wife-person learns that I eschewed holiday shopping based on what I thought were well-grounded reports of the end of the world.
After all, it was on the internet.