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The End of the World As We Know It. 12/20/12

posted Dec 20, 2012, 12:55 PM by Kathryn Simpson   [ updated May 7, 2016, 10:23 AM by Kathryn Simpson ]
Most of us have been hearing so much malarkey about the world ending on December 21, 2012, and for such a long time that it's like an international running joke. It's just almost too delightful not to buy. 12/21/12. Twelve-twenty-one-twelve. It's poetic! It's like Shakespeare and a numerologist got together and made a tragedy baby! 

If somehow you HAVEN'T been hearing the bruhaha, here are some opportunities for quick study: 
Of course, like all running jokes, it's really only a little bit funny. On December 10 Tom Leonard of the Daily Mail quoted a 13-yr old girl who's "scared to death and considering suicide," and others asking when they should put their dog to sleep so it doesn't suffer when the world comes to an end.* Some Michigan schools are canceling classes for fear of "Apocalypse violence".** There's nothing funny about that kind of panic. 

I've been wondering why the news media hasn't been trying to spread some calm about it. NPR did a nice piece on it this morning (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/12/20/167626648/maya-expert-the-end-of-times-is-our-idea-not-the-ancients). And NASA has been doing its part to stifle the hype (http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html). But here in Chicago there hasn't been much said to relax any clenched sphincters. No time, I suppose, when there are so many other things that can add to the sense of gloom. Justifiably so, for the most part. Our society certainly seems to be spiraling the drain. We only have to look as far as photos of our favorite little people to reflect on the most recent nightmare. There are the wars and the mess in Washington. Plus all of our compounding personal struggles. It stacks up and stacks up and television producers aren't paid to sooth their viewers. They're paid to please advertisers. I doubt my pals in broadcasting can disagree. 

So what are we to do tonight while we collectively sit on an alleged global precipice? Do we retreat to bunkers? Do we face uncertainty with a case of beer and a bottle of tequila? Do we go to church? Or have crazy sex? Any combination thereof? 

Or do we take a deep breath and remember that all those things are still valid options for evening entertainment regardless what any of our tomorrows may bring? Because seriously, the Mayan calendar ending doesn't indicate any more guarantee of global apocalypse than Edgar Whisenant could predict the Rapture in 1988.*** The sad fact is that any given day could be the last day for any of us. Like my mother always says, there are no guarantees. 

And yet there is ONE guarantee about tomorrow. It will be the Winter Solstice. The longest night of the year and the mid-point between winter and summer. The Earth tilts and the days begin to get longer.**** For those of us who embrace that kind of celebration, it is a special day indeed. That this year's date is so numerically romantic is an added bonus. The wheel of seasons will turn again, and we'll never in our lifetimes see a Solstice with this kind of numerical palindrome. Which I'm sure the Mayans would agree is pretty cool, but no reason to panic. 

Just please, for the Mayans' sake, skip the movie.  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1190080/

It's just awful. 


           


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