Monday, June 20, 2011

COLUMN: End of the World

Sooo... this is what the afterlife feels like, eh? And to think, all I wanted was a Thickburger.

There I was, in the drive-thru at the Rock Island Hardee's, innocently living my carefree life, when I glanced to the right and spotted the billboard:

"BLOW THE TRUMPET... WARN THE PEOPLE -Ezekiel 33:3. Judgement Day is May 21, 2011." Or perhaps it said "judgment day." Frankly, I'm always a bit leery of words that can be acceptably spelled in more than one way. That's why I always knew Gaddafi (or Khadafi or Qaddafi or Gadhafi or Khadafy) was bad news.

The point is, I KNEW I'd forgotten something on my to-do list for this week. Buy deodorant? Check. Make mortgage payment? Check. Write newspaper column? Check. Prep for judgement day? Oh, shoot.

Now, I'm no expert on Christianity or anything, but the last time I checked, I'm pretty sure the Book of Mark tells us about Judgement Day that "of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." Well, the Father and, apparantly, a guy in California named Harold Camping.

I've written about Harold before. He runs an organization called Family Radio Worldwide, and it's Harold's opinion that we'll NEVER know who wins "American Idol" this season. No, we'll all be far too busy dealing with the end of days. Employing some creative math and an odd quasi-literal interpretation of the Bible (something about the Noadic flood and "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years,") Camping has taken to the internet and the airwaves with the revelation that Judgement Day comes on May 21st, 2011. I even wrote it on my desk calendar a few months back: "May 21st - End of World." Its right there between Rhubarb Appreciation Day and National Old Time Player Piano Day (the latter of which may be postponing celebrations indefinitely.)

There's just one problem. May 21st was (gulp) yesterday. This column, which I'm sitting down to write on the Monday prior, won't publish until May 22nd. Which means it may not publish at all. In fact, if you ARE reading this now, I'd imagine that one of two scenarios must be at play:

(1) Camping was wrong. Surely this can't be. I mean, he already got it wrong once before when he proclaimed twenty years ago that the Rapture would occur on September 6, 1994. Instead, this turned out to be the date that Michael Jackson and Lisa-Marie Presley made out onstage at the MTV Music Awards, so I can kinda see his confusion. Camping later blamed this on a math error. Surely he can't have made TWO errors, right? I mean, what are the odds?

(2) The Rapture has occurred, and you, unfortunately, were left behind. Bummer. Of course, this would also mean that a majority of the layout, printing, post-press, and distribution departments of our paper suffered the same fate, since your Sunday issue was apparantly still delivered on-time. Frankly, I'd prefer a happier ending for my co-workers. Also interesting: it's nice to know that, even if the world DID end in a hailstorm of fire and brimstone and trumpets aplenty, we still saw fit to include an Arts & Living section in your Sunday edition for you to peruse in your apocalypse down time.

Clearly, I think Camping's claims are bogus. More so, it's tragic that his followers have basically quit their jobs and emptied their bank accounts to travel the world and spread the news. Unless, of course, he's right, in which case I'll plead a hearty "D'oh!" to whomever (or maybe Whomever) I can. But frankly I hope that every one of us gets to live a colorful and spiritual life until a ripe old age. That said, something DID happen the other day that scares me a bit. Something that might just be a clear-cut sign that the end of the world COULD, in fact, be nigh:


Those who read my column on a regular basis (thanks!) know that I'm rather pre-disposed to eating out. In fact, I could usually count on one hand the number of home-cooked meals that I consume in a year (and that includes those cooked by my mom during major holidays.) That is, until I miraculously landed my super awesome girlfriend. Over the past two years, Amy has taught me that the kitchen is NOT, as I was previously unaware, for display purposes only. She's helped me stock the fridge, cooked many a meal, and even done most of the clean-up afterwards. For a hapless and helpless man-boy such as myself, it's been a dream come true.

But last month, Amy was gone. First on a business trip, then on a vacation to visit an old friend. For almost fourteen days, I was once again responsible for feeding myself. Instinctively, my thoughts turned to my old pal Taco Bell, until I realized that a whole lot of food in the fridge would be going to waste if I didn't figure out how to get it in my mouth. Take these eggs, for example.

Eggs are fun. They're goofy shaped, you get to crack them, and you can make them in a kajillion different ways. I just didn't know how - 40 years old and eggs remained a mystery to me. But I'm a smart guy with access to modern technology, common sense, and untold resources. So I did what any intelligent person faced with an uncooked egg would do:

I googled "how to cook an egg."

Funnily enough, there's a website devoted to it. And I'll guarantee you that it's last 20,000,000 visitors have all been single guys. Still, I learned how much Pam to spray in the pan, how hot to make the stove, and when to flip. At the end, I had some not-too-bad-if-I-do-say-so-myself eggs. And that was just the start. My culinary talents soon extended to sandwiches, milkshakes, fish sticks, and beyond. By the time Amy got back, I was grilling burgers and experimenting with the best homemade sauces to accent my broccoli florets. It turns out I CAN COOK. And thus far, no flying horsemen as a result.

If only I'd discovered this earlier, I'd have been making my OWN thickburger and living in blissful ignorance of our pending doom. I'm playing the odds, though, and marinating some chicken Friday night - if the world DIDN'T end yesterday, I'll be celebrating with a full stomach.

No comments: