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The World's End

Your cheat sheet to the Mayan apocalypse: Doomsday survival tips, new insights & doubters

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Obviously still feeling cocky after showing off its Gangnam Style moves, NASA has released a video to be viewed on Dec. 22 titled “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday.” This four minute documentary on the Mayan calendar system is either a rational, informative explanation as to why the cosmic disaster 12/21/2012 will bring the shortest day of the year when you still have shopping to do, or it's an attempt to calm the citizenry while our leaders and all the beautiful people are secretly ushered into the space ships bound for Alpha Centauri.

Why are we so fascinated by end times prophesies? I wonder if it’s because there’s almost something comforting about disasters being out of our control. In a way, anxiously awaiting the world’s end is so much easier than looking around at the countless horrors humans visit upon each other that perhaps we could have prevented.

 In a way, it’s our ideal, dream apocalypse, becoming whatever we need it to be. 

This latest, but surely not last, apocalyptic prediction might have arrested our imagination because no one can pin down exactly what it’s supposed to be, only that it involves ancient Mayan time keeping.

Essentially, this doomsday revolves around one Mayan calendar ending and archeologist not yet discovering the next “Hottest ballplayers of Yaxchilan” calendar pinned to some Mesoamerican pyramid wall. And so we race to the conclusion that the Mayans thought time just stopped.

In a way, it’s our ideal, dream apocalypse, becoming whatever we need it to be.

What form will the Mayan Apocalypse take?

Will the planets align causing . . . something bad? Will the rogue planet Nibiru, which was invented by the Sumerians, not the Maya, crash into the Earth? Will the sun suddenly and rudely go nova without giving us time to apply sunscreen? Will we get to kill vampires, or zombies, or vampiric zombies?

Will a dragon eat the sun? OK, a dragon will probably not eat the sun.

Recently during a bout with insomnia, I caught a 2 a.m. showing on cable of 2012, the third film in Roland Emmerich’s cool ways to destroy the Statue of Liberty trilogy. As near as I could tell, according to that movie the Earth’s destruction will be brought about when the super volcano under Yellowstone and Woody Harrelson have an illicit affair and then blow up North America when an uncaring society scorns their love.

More than any other recent possible apocalypse the Mayan reminds me of the Y2K doomsday scenarios which predicted that because of two digit year dates imbedded in computer programing, on Jan. 1, 2000 all the computer in the world were going to to think it was year 00, hit a logic error, and poof themselves out of existence.

Taking that similarity to its oh so logical conclusion the Mayan Apocalypse can only be one thing, a hell-scape where my Apple iCal and Google calendar just stop counting days and, even worse, refuse to sync up with each other forever more.

So just in case NASA is wrong, here are a few tips to help you have a safe and pleasant Mayan Apocalypse.

1. Be sure your Mayan Apocalypse supply kit contains water, batteries, a three days worth of non-perishable food, moist towelettes, lots of alcohol, and paper calendars for transferring all your appointments manually with pen or pencil.

I suggest kitten photo calendars, which you will need to boost your spirits when the alcohol runs out.

2. Do not get in between the Mayan Apocalypse and her young apocalypi. Avoid direct eye contact with the Mayan Apocalypse, but if it does attack, either roll yourself up into a ball and play dead or hit it on the snout with a stick.

3. If you should be stung by the Mayan Apocalypse, do not have a friend pee on you. This is both an old wives' tale and just gross. Rinse the wound with vinegar instead.

4. Just in case, try to keep a 50 mile radius between yourself and Woody Harrelson.

5. Hoarding gold will only help you survive the Mayan Apocalypse on the slim chance I’m wrong about the dragon eating the sun thing, in which case try to distract the dragon by waving the gold away from the sun.

And finally, for both peace of mind and utter disconcertment take a look at another video NASA uploaded last week. The 39 seconds of footage of the three-mile wide asteroid Toutatis passing 4.3 million miles from Earth is somehow both frighteningly beautiful and more ominous than any hundred million dollar disaster flick could ever hope to be.

The day Toutatis buzzed closest? 12/12/12.

Viewing it brings me to the most horrific thought of all. Perhaps the universe isn’t out to end us in some singular and dramatic way. In fact, what if the universe doesn’t even know we exist?

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