Saturday, May 21, 2011

The End of the World … Again

It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
And I feel fine
. – R.E.M., “It’s the End of the World As We Know It”

Surely by now you’ve heard about the 89-year-old minister who’s predicting “The Rapture” for today. He says the event he’s looking for to herald Judgment Day is a major earthquake. I’d say he’s got fair odds of getting one considering recent major tremors in South America, Japan and Spain.

Even if that does happen, does it really signify the end of the world? Probably not, as similar claims have borne out.

Still, there are those who believe that on May 21 (today) that the righteous (or roughly 3 percent of the world’s population) will be whisked away to heaven. The rest of us? We get to deal with a self-destructing earth for five more months. How would that work, exactly? If you’re on the “nice” versus “naughty” list you magically vaporize? And, if not, you’ve basically signed on for the Apocalypse?

In my lifetime, this is the fourth or fifth time that I can think of that Planet Earth was slated for destruction. In my lifetime! (I’m sure there were several others that I either don’t know about or forgot.) And yet, the world didn’t go kablooey sending life as we know it screeching into oblivion.

The first one I can recall was in 1982, thanks to a mid-1970s prediction from televangelist Pat Robertson that the world would end that fall. (A couple of science writers touted this same theory, citing some kind of planetary alignment that was supposed to set off the San Andreas fault and domino style, take the rest of the world along.) While I didn’t get to go to it, my friend Maria threw an “End of the World” party that has long outlived the dire prediction and is now legendary.

In 1988, there were multiple apocalyptic predictions. I remember these only because that was the year I was graduating from college and I thought, “D*mn. I get this close and I don’t get a degree!” On the bright side, I wouldn’t have had to repay my college loans.

Then, while it wasn’t world-ending, there was the Iben Browning prediction for Dec. 3, 1990. He claimed that on that date, give or take 48 hours, the New Madrid fault area had a 50-50 chance of being the center of a destructive earthquake. And while that wouldn’t have ended the world, per se, it would surely have seriously rocked mine due to simple geography. That didn’t happen either.

And then … Remember all the Y2K hype of 2000? Yeah. Me, too.

So, if you’re reading this, I guess earth’s imminent destruction has been foiled yet again… at least until 2012. And if they’re right?

At least I won’t have to mow the yard.


kaypasa2001 said...

It's wonderful up here! Heaven looks JUST LIKE EARTH! I always knew it did! What could be more marvelous than the miracles of Earth?

Why S? said...

I well remember the predicted apocalypse of 1982. In fact, I have a b/w photo of myself sitting on my college quad, waiting for The End. I recently used it as my Facebook profile.

Ah! The good old days.