So the world is supposed to end in the next couple of days.
As I tell my sons when they mull the possibility: “Oh, they predict that all the time, and it hardly ever happens.”
The only occasion I remember is the final episode of the early-’90s TV series “Dinosaurs,” in which the main character, Earl, spreads a defoliant that ends up wiping out his species. But I tend to doubt if that’s a documentary.
The latest “that’s all, folks” prognostication comes courtesy of the Mayan calendar, which supposedly stops Friday. As far as those folks’ predictive skills, I’ve heard it asked:
“If they were so sharp, why didn’t they know the Spaniards were coming?”
That might be more applicable to the Aztecs and Incas, but it’s a good question, nonetheless.
I’ll go out on a limb and assume that the great majority of Earth’s denizens will wake up safe and sound Saturday. After all, we’ve been through this before.
Remember Dec. 31, 1999? The computers were supposed to go crazy at the stroke of midnight, plunging everyone into some kind of “Mad Max” scenario, or that episode of “Family Guy” where Stewie turns into an octopus.
On that New Year’s Eve, I started checking around midday for reports of the cyber-Apocalypse coming out of, say, Micronesia. When the coast seemed clear on that side of the world, it seemed safe to breathe a bit easier in the Eastern Time Zone.
Most of us fared a lot better than the turn of the prior millennium A.D. As Jan. 1, 1000, approached, Pope Sylvester II proclaimed that the end was nigh. So plenty of Dark Agers figured, what the heck, gave away all their possessions and waited patiently for the Four Horsemen or whatever.
There used to be a guy named Herbert W. Armstrong who would rattle everyone’s cages every once in a while. The founder of the Worldwide Church of God claimed the Rapture was coming in 1936. When that didn’t happen, he revised it to 1943.
When World War II didn’t end the world, he pushed the big day all the way back to 1972, then 1975. Give him credit, though: He was 93 when the world ended for him, in 1986.
The late psychic Jeane Dixon predicted Armageddon would occur at some point between 2020 and 2037. She also predicted 1962, back when it still was in the future. You’ll remember that as the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, so she almost got it right.
On Oct. 28, 1937, an asteroid named Hermes passed extremely close to the earth, which may have represented the closest we’ve come to not being here today.
Scientists give the solar system a finite life, and the whole universe, too. But that’s supposedly several billion years away. So don’t worry; be happy.
And the same goes for Dec. 21, 2012.
Harry Funk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.