Sunday, December 16, 2012

12-21-12: The End is Nigh

First, let's just get this out of the way: I don't believe the world will end on December 21. I don't know what the Mayans supposedly predicted or why. Furthermore, I don't really care. Believing in the end of the world is a lot like believing in God, or unicorns, or the infallibility of the pope, or that Jesus raised the dead, that the NHL strike will end by Christmas, or that a friend of mine is sleeping with her best friend's husband. Perhaps, in good time, I will know the answer to all these burning issues.

But right now--and this might shock you--I freely admit that I JUST DON'T KNOW!

There, I said it.

Now, I'm not so arrogant as to think we're indestructible. And by "we" I mean you. I might well be indestructible. I just don't know. See the quandary I'm in?

You, however, I'm willing to leave dangling for experimental purposes. Since your indestructibility has not been proven to me--and yet, I admit, since you're still alive, neither has your destructibility (ten points for Gryffindor!)--I am going to assume, for the sake of rhetoric, that you are expendable and soluble.

But here's my point: The world might not end on Dec. 21, 2012. Or it might. You don't get to choose.

You can choose which to believe, or not to believe, or what have you. But you don't actually get to decide what happens on that day.

I think the world as we know it will end some day. I don't know if the earth is indestructible. It might be, but I doubt it. There's always some bigger planet with which it might collide, or some asteroid that might bump into us in a few billion years or less and send us careening off our axis, flinging us into the sun and screaming for our lives.

Most likely, the earth will remain intact. We, on the other hand (by which I mean you), might well be shrugged off the planet's back like nothing but the ticks and lice we so often resemble in our behaviour.

Odd thing is, despite the sarcastic tone of this post thus far, I mean it in exactly the opposite way. I would give my life for this planet because, let's face it, without this planet I am nothing.

Meanwhile, we are here now and surely that counts for something.

A friend of mine said the other day that her child came home from school asking if he had to go to school on the day of the supposed apocalypse because, really, if the world ended, he didn't want to spend it in school.

What a wise lad.

My response was that we should all take that day off, use it as a day to celebrate life and the miracle that is our existence on this planet. Far better than spending the day in mourning, no matter how it turns out.

December 21 (or Dec. 20, whichever) should be an unofficial holiday. I mean, what's the worst that can happen? You wake up that morning, you throw caution to the chilly breeze and say, "I'm not going to work/school/basket weaving/license plate making or pottery class today. I'm spending the next 24 hours doing everything I want to do--not stuff I have to do." So maybe you call a few people and tell them you love them. It could even be people you know.

Personally, I wouldn't do that. I hate telephones. I might email a few people I've been meaning to respond to for a while now--but only if I seriously care about whether they hear from me. I mean, I'm not going to waste my time talking to people who don't mean that much to me. I'd have to check my Facebook page, though, and maybe scan Twitter for Cecil Haire's Road Report (if there were zombies on the highway, Cecil would be the first to know because he's always in Long Harbour before breakfast and on his way back into town by the time the sun comes up).

The thing is to act like it was your last day on earth. You could get drunk. But I don't see the point in that unless it's getting drunk/stoned with friends with whom you love spending time with, maybe singing some songs like "The Night Pat Murphy Died" or "Molly Bawn." I'm not sure what people sing when all they listen to is rap. I guess you could spend the last few minutes of your life trying to remember the words to "Love in this Club, Part II" or "Nothin' But a 'G' Thing." Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm sure there are more appropriate tunes, but I don't know any.

If it was my last day on earth, I would probably want to spend two solid hours sitting at the seashore, feeling the wind on my face. Or perhaps just an hour there and another hour in the woods. Really, just feeling. I mean, that's always been the thing with me. Whatever I do, I try to feel it. Sometimes I manage; sometimes I don't. Nothing worse than doing something when your heart's not in it.

I'd go home then and spend an hour reading a few poems from my favourite poets. Maybe something from Dylan Thomas or Walt Whitman, and definitely some Yeats, maybe a chapter from a favourite novel. Not even sure what that would be. But it would have to be something appropriate, maybe from Alas, Babylon or The Road. Or maybe something from the first novel I ever read, Little Women, for the sake of nostalgia. I wouldn't read from Revelations at that point, though, because that would just piss me off.

Mind you, I'd probably be drinking the occasional bit too--but not so much that I couldn't feel. That would be stupid. I've often said that if the end of the world were to come, I'd want to be here to see it because, I mean, if it's only going to happen once, why would I want to miss that? Sure, it would be horrible. The carnage would be unimaginable. The stock markets would plummet. The "Hot Topics" on The View would be too emotional to take. CNN would be just rolling clips of people running around the Wal-mart with shopping carts full of water, batteries and hygiene products, with a wild look in their eyes like we were getting a major snowstorm or it was Black Friday. I'm not sure my heart could take it really. But I'm no coward. Well, not when it comes to apocalypses. Apocalypsi. Whichever. But every time we have one, I plan to be there. It's a testament to my masculinity, a test of courage.

Seriously, though, I'm not planning for the end of the world. I mean, what kind of stupid arse does that? If it comes, it comes and there's nothing you can do about it. You just kind of go with it. If the end of days comes, I don't think I'd be too content with a few jugs of water, a cupboard full of potato chips, and a shotgun. If that's what you've got standing between you and the cannibalistic hordes beating on your door, I'd say your pretty much done for anyways. Might as well do all your living right now.

Oh, back to the list of things. Okay, so there's the time on the beach and in the woods. Check. Good reading. Check. Some good beer. But no drugs because they dull the senses.

I'd actually like to have lunch with all the people I like in the world. But that's not likely because they don't necessarily all like me enough to spend even a part of their last day on earth with me. I get it. No biggie. Maybe I should've answered that last email. But I'd have a small gathering in my home, a few songs, as I said, tell them all how lucky they are to have me in their lives. No, wait, I mean, tell them how lucky I am to be in their lives, how I wish we could spend the rest of our lives together.

Then wait for the eerie silence, followed by nervous laughter and a sense of relief before the music breaks out (assuming the eerie silence wasn't followed by a loud bang, or someone breathing heavy and having sex in another room. That would just be awkward).

As evening comes on, I want my wife and I to say goodbye to our guests and shut the door on the world.

Fade to black. You don't need to know what we do after we shut the door.

Okay, then, fade to light and colour again. We'd sit together and talk. Maybe light a few candles. Hold hands. Reminisce. Talk about how good it was to see everyone that day, even the one who kept bawling into his beer and making inappropriate comments to the women, telling them all how much he wished he'd slept with each of them ('cause that would totally happen). We'd try not to mention how, even at pre-apocalypse gatherings, family can drive you nuts sometimes. And secretly you wish for an apocalypse so you don't have to do it all over again over Christmas.But mostly, my wife and I would just watch each other's faces in the glow of the candle light, bask in the shadows and say "I love you" a few times, then wait for the evening to end.

Then I'd put "Love You Till the End" by the Pogues on repeat on my iPod, just loud enough to hear it, then fade off to sleep.

That would be a good day.

I think I'll do that, or something akin to it.

Peace and love, everybody.


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