Apocalypse, Now!!

I’ve been patiently awaiting the apocalypse since the first somewhat-credible proclamation of Armageddon was made upon the close of the 20th century.  I use the term “credible” somewhat loosely, because short of a dinosaur-killing asteroid plunging toward the earth or Death and Famine and cohorts razing the city on horseback, you tend to take end-of-the-world proclamations with a grain or two of salt.  But under the circumstances, I considered it largely improbable, yet distinctly possible that if some fair number of systems upon which modern society was tethered to were to truly go belly-up (assuming we weren’t first disposed of entirely by ill-mannered nuclear missiles flying about with wild abandon) and planes started falling from the sky, society would ride a tidal wave of mass hysteria into some eventual state of primal civilization.  Add to this what I’m sure was some fair number of non-technology related Biblical prognostications and other miscellaneous Nostradamic horseshit concerning the end of the millennium, and (despite the protestations of the one asshole in every group who felt the need to glibly point out that the millennium technically didn’t end until the following year) there seemed to be a fair consensus that the world should come to a screeching halt when the calendar flipped to 2000, and technicalities be damned, 2000 seemed like a nice round number to go out on.

Just for the record, my anticipation of the apocalypse isn’t meant to be any sort of allegorical commentary on society (though, in all fairness, I could produce volumes on the subject which would probably end in an apocalyptic allegory, anyway, but that’s for another time).   My anticipation is not necessarily of the apocalypse itself, but rather the aftermath.  In this, I’m assuming that the “end-of-the-world” isn’t the actual end of the world, as such, but some catalyst leading to the collapse of modern society and technology, leaving in its wake some manner of post-apocalyptic society that blends the character of the Old West archetype with some steam-punk flair (kind of like “Wild Wild West”, but in a way that isn’t an abomination) and badass cars.  To wit, since childhood I’ve harbored fantasies of someday barreling through a lonesome post-apocalyptic landscape with reckless abandon in a black Interceptor, a Blue Heeler and sawed-off shotgun my faithful companions, a dream perhaps born of the romantic notion of a simpler life defined by merely a compulsion for survival and adventure.

In any event, whether it’s due to the residual effects of having seen “The Road Warrior” too many times (if that’s even possible), a subconscious longing for reprieve from the inexorable gravitational pull of a society on the verge of collapsing into a narcissistic singularity (speaking of which, please feel free to click on the delightful “Like” button when you’re done reading), or just some childish flight of fancy, I think it would make for a decent change of pace.  And while I’m sure that the post-apocalyptic future will realistically resemble “The Road” (a grey, largely humorless world where I’ll likely be roasted and eaten by a roving band) more than it does “The Road Warrior”, I remain cautiously optimistic.

Due to something of an unconventional (by contemporary standards) childhood, I actually consider myself relatively well-equipped to thrive in post-apocalyptic society.  Admittedly, I’m not resourceful enough to survive on my recycled urine and wood grubs if I were dropped off in the wilderness for any decent amount of time, but I consider that I’m possessed of competent, if not proficient, hunter-gatherer skills, enough so to put me at a decided competitive advantage over the majority of assholes in the City, many of whom will likely spend the first week after the apocalypse wandering about trying to get a fucking cell phone signal.  At the very least, I’m quite confident that I can firmly establish myself as warrior-king of my co-op in very short order.

That having been said, aside from replaying Fallout occasionally, I don’t ordinarily give much that active thought to the apocalypse, but it’s hard to entirely ignore the slew of fresh doomsday prophecies accompanying the advent of the New Year, mainly involving the allegedly ominous portents of the Mayan calendar.  And though it might make me wax nostalgic (sic) for the end-of-days, so far as I’m concerned, the Mayan calendar ending in 2012 doesn’t mean shit except that when they got to December 21, 2012 (or whatever the Mayan equivalent was) someone said, “Fuck it, that should last us for a while.”  As far as I know, the Maya never explicitly stated that the world would end on that day, but for argument’s sake (and that of the doomsday lot), let’s assume that they did.  Even then, I find it far more likely that the guy working on the calendar (astrologer or what not) eventually got tired of working on the calendar and said, “Fuck it”, and if Mayan society functioned at all like contemporary society, when his asshole boss (high priest or some such) eventually came around and demanded to know why he stopped working on the calendar, he naturally covered his ass and said, “Yeah, the world’s actually going to end on that day”, whereupon he may or may not have been dragged off to the nearest temple to have his heart cut out for the amusement of the gods.

And honestly, who the fuck are we to criticize the Mayans for not having created a calendar that lasted longer than 1,000 years or so after their civilization collapsed?  Coming from the alleged technically-advanced civilization that couldn’t even think some 40-50 years ahead to store a couple of extra digits for the date in their computer programs, I don’t think we have much room to fucking talk.  And it’s not so much that I’m bitter about the culmination of this oversight into what was collectively known as the “Y2K Scare”, so much as I’m rather bitter about the wholly underwhelming aftermath, in that there was essentially none.  Now while I’m certain that there were some documented cases of Y2K-related malfunctions, most of these were likely characterized as minor irritants rather than anything truly catastrophic.  And even though I woke up at the dawn of the new millennium (sic) feeling as if the end of the world had indeed come and discovered that my bank account was suspiciously empty, it would turn out that these were entirely unrelated to the prophesied cataclysm.  And my goddamned computer didn’t even explode when I switched it on that morning (as I had been led to believe).

Therefore, having been thoroughly disappointed by the only remotely-plausible apocalyptic event in my life, I tend to pay little mind to any of the doomsday prophecies proffered on a semi-regular basis by asshole cult leaders or mystics who divined the date by reading the bible upside down in the mirror or received the intelligence from their pet lemur or magic crystals.  And when the world, unsurprisingly, doesn’t come to an end, they offer some bullshit excuse for having misinterpreted the date (the lemur had gas), revise it, and have another go at it (which oddly enough, doesn’t seem to faze their followers all that much).

And so, realizing that I obviously can’t rely on self-proclaimed prophets or ancient civilizations to foretell the end of the world, I must take it upon myself to offer the only truly reliable doomsday prophecy:  I hereby predict that the end of the world will be tomorrow.  However, should Armageddon not come to pass tomorrow, I proclaim that my prophecy will, in perpetuity, be revised to the following day.  I may be wrong for an awfully long time, but I’m pretty goddamned sure that I will be the only one who eventually gets it right.

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