Published Sunday, December 30, 2012
Column by ALEX MCRAE
The next time I want advice about when the world will end, I’ll forget the Mayans and consult Albert at the bait shop. The predictions will be equally accurate.
Millions of people spent much of December frozen with fear because some ancient Mayan calendar carved a long time ago on a real old rock ended on Dec. 21, 2012.
Scientific types, including archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, soothsayers and Wikipedia editors, swore the calendar ended on Dec. 21, 2012, because that’s when the Mayans had determined the world would cease to exist.
No one ever said why the Mayans — who didn’t even have computers, cars or frozen yogurt — should have been more accurate at predicting the end of the world than anyone else. And people have been forecasting The End ever since The Beginning.
One of the more recent doomsday predictions was issued by the reverend Harold Camping, who made headlines last year when he swore that the Rapture would happen on May 21, 2011, and the planet Earth would become (with apologies to Jerry Lee Lewis) a Great Ball of Fire on Oct. 21, 2011.
I didn’t put much stock in Camping’s prediction since it included a plea for donations to his ministry. They say you can’t take it with you. Maybe not, but I sure wasn’t going to let Camping take what little I had with him.
I didn’t pay much attention to the Mayan prediction, either. Mostly because none of the so-called “experts” ever considered that the calendar may have ended on Dec. 21, 2012, because the stone carver got too sick to work or the Mayan Stonecutter’s Union went on strike. Stuff happens.
Some people, though, clearly took the Mayan prediction to heart. They dusted off their bucket lists and got busy checking off all the things they’d hoped to do before they died (This may be the reason that most of the ticket buyers for the latest Rolling Stones tour took advantage of the AARP discount).
As usual, I took the road less traveled. As Dec. 21, 2012, drew closer, I didn’t race to check things off my bucket list. I quit checking things off my “to-do” list.
Well, why not?
If the world was going to end, I didn’t want my tombstone to read “He Passed While Painting the Kitchen.”
I wanted to spend my last few days on Earth watching Discovery Channel shows about the end of the world and wondering if they played college football in Heaven and if so, were Georgia’s chances of winning another national championship any better in the Hereafter.
And so the chores piled up. Now Christmas has come and gone and I’ll be starting the New Year by finishing last year’s projects.
Ho, ho, ho.
Which means the diet is back on the schedule, the tax receipts tossed in the drawer will have to be rounded up and sorted out to make sure I pay my “fair share,” the clogged gutter will finally get cleaned, the house will get pressure washed and I’ll break down and buy a new towel. Maybe some socks, too.
As for doomsday predictions, I’ll do what I should have done all along and stick with the Bible, which says that no one but God knows when the world will end.
That’s good enough for me. But just in case it’s soon, I’ll put off the painting the kitchen for a while. I think God will understand.
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