Countdown to 12/12/12: Monday, Tuesday, Doomsday

Once again, it's the end of the world as we know it. Time to rethink the survival instinct.

If the world’s biggest pessimists are right, by this time next week there will be no time, no next week, no nothing. Doomsayers believe 12/12/12 (or maybe 12/21) is not a good date in everyone’s favorite almanac, the Mayan calendar. That’s when an Earth-shattering, cataclysmic event is supposed to wipe this planet clean — Apocalypse Right Now — and like Monty Python’s dead parrot we will all have ceased to be, which will definitely ruin Christmas.
Oddly, this will be good news for the prophets and profiteers in the survival industry as well as everyone who watches Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel. Then again, you’ve got to wonder: Is a bunker mentality enough to get you through End Times? Will the Rapture ignore everyone in underground shelters and gas masks, like a nuclear Passover?
It seems most of the people who spend considerable time and money waiting for the world to end aren't fond of the one they’re living in. They think to save the global village, it’s got to burn down. Only after they emerge from hiding, the same way Dorothy stepped into the glorious, living color of Oz, will these sole survivors be safe among like-minded folk in a brave, new world. It’ll be the ultimate “I told you so.”
We’ve been down this road to oblivion before — twice last year. Religious radio personality Harold Camping predicted Judgment Day would be held on May 21, 2011. After the sun dawned on May 22, he crunched the numbers again and announced we would all go down together five months later on Oct. 21. We can only assume that Camping did not have a happy Halloween.
Of course, he wasn’t the first guy to give last call. We’ve extended the expiration dates stamped by Nostradamus, Y2K and Satan, whose anticipated rise on 6/6/6 was apparently exorcized.
Now we’ve got mere hours to prepare for a date whose most startling development is likely to be the once-in-a-century trifecta of 12 turning up as the day/month/year. Maybe it’d be a good time to think instead about our own individual date with destiny: an unpredictable but sure-fire death. Put down the blueprint for an impenetrable fortress and start working on a few secular tasks for your survivors, not survival: an up-to-date will, funeral instructions, a list of all the stuff you want to give to family and friends.
If you’re religious, dig deeper than the hole for a double-wall water tank. You might just find a lifeline to whatever God you worship. As a Catholic, I should probably go with the flow and ask the question that’s a sentimental favorite of bumper stickers and country songs: What would Jesus do?
I’m not sure, of course, but I’ve got a feeling he wouldn’t be stockpiling ammunition and soup. “Be vigilant,” he once advised, “for you do not know the day or hour” — unless, of course, you’re addicted to Doomsday Preppers. Then you know the day is Tuesday and the hour is 9 p.m.

Kevin Haynes
By Kevin Haynes
Kevin Haynes is Next Avenue's editor at large.

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