New Year

The world will come to an end in less than a year and we all had better start getting our affairs in order.

If you are thinking I am some unwashed, hairy, nut-case running around the streets proclaiming: “The end is at hand,” first, I do not think I am a nut-case and second, it was not my idea. There just happens to be a lot of people out there putting stock in the fact the Mayan calendar runs out on December 21, 2012. Some have even offered up “evidence” in an attempt to support their bleak predictions.

A lot of people seem to be taking these doomsday folks seriously, but I personally think they are full of beans. Besides, when my wall calendar runs out, I just buy a new one. (Wait until late January. Stores discount what they have left. The Mayans may have done the same thing if they had access to a printing press.)

I could get run over by a bus tomorrow, making the whole argument moot from my perspective. However, in the interest of investigative journalism and scientific curiosity, let us hypothesize that 12/21/2012 is really the day we all get our collective tickets punched. How should we prepare for the inevitable?

To begin with, you should let your inner hedonist out. If you are the type who eats tofu and runs 100 miles a week in an effort to extend your life span, give it up. Grab a big, greasy double cheeseburger and plop down in front of the TV. Drink all the beer you want. Healthy living holds no meaning when you know it will all be over in a few months.

If you are saving up for your children’s college, cash it in and buy something nice for yourself. You can always tell your progeny that higher education is way overrated. “Short” every stock you can. The market is bound to go down the last week of next December.

If you have ever wanted to tell your boss what you really think, let him have it. Unemployment insurance should hold you until the now-scheduled end of days. You are going to need the time off anyway. Cruises, vacations and Las Vegas await – put it all on the credit card. Come to think about it, what happens in Vegas can now come home with you.

Bills and mortgage payments? Ignore them. Responsibilities? Shirk them. Planning to remodel the kitchen? Waste of time. Sell all your possessions and live like a rock star.

The life insurance and time-share industries would really suffer. On the other hand, new cars and homes would sell like hotcakes. We would experience the biggest economic boom the world has ever seen. On the other hand and for obvious reasons, Christmas shopping would be severely depressed, giving a whole new meaning to the term “Black Friday.”

Personally, I think I would make sure I submitted my last column on December 19 and hope my editor did not hold it.

The point is, there has always been someone or some group out there predicting the end. Predictions change nothing. What difference would it make if there was a date certain? We all live our lives according to our personal internal compasses and no ancient expired calendar, solar storms or rogue planets are going to change that.

That being said, if you do happen to have a hot tip on when the world will end, email me. I want to scoop all the other news media on December 22.

As a footnote: Thanks to the Athens, Georgia band R.E.M. for the title.

Copyright © 2011 by Doug Couch. All Rights Reserved.  Photo by AlicePopcorn via Flickr photostream, used with Creative Commons 2.0 License.
Doug Couch

Doug Couch

I like to tell folks that I was born in Georgia because I wanted to be close to my mother. I feel blessed to have been born and raised in the deep South where we have the best food, the best college football, and rich traditions. I got my sense of humor from my father and my proclivity for writing from my mother, an author of children's books. I enjoy writing about the funny side of life in the South and I am not above a bit of irreverence as long as it doesn't perpetuate negative Southern stereotypes. We Southerners enjoy a good story, and I remain determined to write one some day.

I have been in and out of the newspaper business since my early college days while following a parallel career in information technology. I am a big fan of Atlanta Falcons football, BBQ, Maker's Mark, all forms of automobile racing, flying (private, not commercial) and shooting sports.

Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously. ― Hunter S. Thompson