For starters, I’m irritated because I had a lot of things planned. I was finally going to learn the Chicken Dance. I was going to make my signature brownie & peanut ice cream this summer. I was going to teach myself the sweetest slap bass solo ever right after I learned how to play the bass. More importantly, I had a party all planned for the night of December 20th, 2012 (The Eat-Like-A-Fat-Pig-Before-The-World-Ends Party), which was supposed to be Judgement Day Eve, followed two days later by the Why-Did-I-Eat-A-Cheesburger-Baked-Inside-Of-A-Cheesecake 5K Fun Run. It was going to be awesome. I was going to invite Lance Armstrong.
I’m even more irritated about the beginning of the world’s end on May 21st, as this group claims on their website, because that’s the exact day of Dave the Cat’s birthday. Let’s face it, he’s not a kitten anymore; he’ll be six in human years. That’s about 40 in cat years. Middle age, David. On this birthday he should be taking out a second mortgage to lease a Porche and cruising for co-eds, not dancing around crevasses and avoiding lava flows. It’s a real bummer when a meteor crashes onto your butter cream-frosted birthday cake. And, yes, he will have a birthday cake, but not carrot cake because David hates carrots.
So I saw this story on CNN.com a while back. I also read the bible passages they cite and did some of their calculations. These folks have conviction in their conclusions and that’s fine. I cannot say that this group should be faulted for believing in their beliefs. Their right to do so is not in doubt. Their actions, though…
Check this out:
Study this picture for as long as you want, but this is still a custom-painted, doomsday Winnebago. This RV and others like it are currently touring the country. Its drivers wear t-shirts and hats that are no less garish. They hand out pamphlets and talk to those who will and won’t listen. Apparently we’ve come a long way since the old “The End is Near” sandwich board. But with such a loud delivery you’d assume there’s a constructive take-away message, something worthwhile and beneficial. There must be a call to action. Repent. Find God. Go to church. Be a better person. Something. Right?
Not exactly. Actually, their message goes something like this: a) the world is ending on May 21st, b) your status (chosen or forsaken) has already been decided by God and was actually determined before you were even born, c) there’s nothing you can do to improve your odds, d) but, hey, we just wanted to let you know cause that’s the kind of people we are, e) so, uh, have a great next four weeks.
If someone wielding a hammer asked you to put your hand on a table then said, Hey, in five minutes I’m going to smack your finger with this hammer and you can’t do anything about it, what would you be thinking about for those five minutes? You’d be thinking about how much it’s going to hurt.
So… is that it? That’s what they want us to take away? We’re all out of luck. Don’t start stocking up on batteries and potable water because it won’t matter. Oh, and it’s going to hurt.
I suppose my apocalypse anxiety is my own fault. It’s not like I have to listen. After all, the world is saturated with people willing to share their opinions. And it’s easier than every to disperse those opinions with youtube, podcasts, recreational vehicles, and ridiculous, long-winded blogs. I could always choose to ignore this as I do every other piece of wannabe propaganda and opinion—be it offensive or insightful; stupid or smart. But I’ll admit, I’m antsy about this sort of thing. I have trouble brushing it off. A big part of me finds this threatening, pre-destined, resistance-is-futile prediction a little disturbing. Call me weak or gullible if you will because I’m probably a little of each.
So I guess what I’m really asking is: why can’t these people be more considerate of me? (Perhaps selfish, but I think it’s okay to ask for baseline respect from the world around us.)
Possible answers: Could be plain old egotism at work or fear mongering under the guise of virtue. The RVs are part of a quest to be the smartest people in the room, the ones who said, I told you so. They want to be the ones laughing when the hammer finally falls.
Maybe there’s a fame factor here too. I can see the temptation behind religious-oriented fame. If you’re a fame connoisseur it’s probably the awesomest kind of fame because it lasts for a long time. Way longer that Paris-Hilton-famous-because-you’re-famous fame or Kerri-Strug-sticks-the-landing fame or William-Wallace-they-cannot-take-our-freedom fame. Then again, if the world ends on May 21st, no one’s going to care about who predicted it. There will be no sitting on Oprah’s couch, no 60 minutes interviews, no action figures. No reality shows.
And maybe I’m missing the point completely; I’m not enlightened enough. Perhaps this is supposed to be a good thing, whether you’re one of the chosen or not. They do call it The Rapture. But that’s a tough pill to swallow.
I just want there to be some good in this message for people like myself. My hope is that this group just wants us all to live better while we can, to reorganize things. Not a bad message at all. But why not just say it. Keep the hammer out of it and paint the sugar-coated version on the side of your RV for me, would you:
Start living better. Skip work and go to a baseball game. Drink a chocolate shake. Pray. Eat nachos your recliner. Love. Kiss your family and your pets. Sit on the porch. Be nice. Help someone. Laugh at bad jokes. Watch your favorite movie twice in a row. Tolerate. Meditate. Learn something new. Be spiritual. Go to your place of worship. Read. Don’t watch Jersey Shore. Take pictures of things that don’t make sense. Take a minute to not talk. Run really fast. Keep pretending you’re cool.
If we do only have a few weeks left, I better get going on more blogs.