There’s a lot of talk about the end of the world, scheduled by the Mayans for 2012 in some ungelernte version of Mayan events. The smart money is that the Mayans created their calendar in sections, blocks of predicted time, and that, were it not for the interruption of the Spaniards, the Mayans would have gone on to complete the next section, and so forth. So the “end” of their calendar in 2012 was accidental, they were merely overtaken by events.
End of the world talk is so common in our culture that we get used to it, get used to laughing about it. It’s interesting that the Mayan angle seems to lend more credibility to the enterprise, like they were somehow more reliable in such matters than the usual Christian Apocalypse Mongers. Maybe too many of the Christians have engaged in it, like the boy that cried “wolf!”
I do remember one instance where I was moved to wonder if the prediction was true. It was a summer day in the mid-Sixties, I was a teenager in New York at the time. The prediction made the papers: about seven p.m. on a certain day. At about five-thirty on that day I was in the neighborhood of my girlfriend, looking to kill some time before calling for her at her house, giving them time to finish dinner. I was sitting on a large rock that was buried iceberg style on a patch of ground outside the house of my old second grade teacher, Miss Lepkeger. There were many of these rocks in my town, one of them was as big as a house, known by all as “Indian Rock.” They had been carried down the east coast during the last Ice Age and had been deposited at a time when Long Island was still attached to the mainland.
As I sat there, idly smoking cigarettes and recalling grammar school, the sky grew darker and darker. By six o’clock it was unnaturally dark and a cool wind had come up. The clouds had a roiling, science-fiction quality to them. I started to think that maybe the woman who had predicted the end of the world was onto something.
Well, I wondered, how bad would that be? I grew up in the Cold War period, and we had all become quite fatigued from the constant worrying about sudden apocalyptic death. So the world ends? So what? An end to worry, an acceptable trade-off.
It started raining and it was quite a storm too. A Biblical storm! The world went on about its business though, as it always does in the face of these predictions.
So keep to your financial discipline everybody. In 2013, all of those bills will have to be paid. Happy New Year!