The End of the World

There’s a new Last Airbender movie planned, so that’s not a bad thing

May 22nd 2011

Yesterday, about 6pm Eastern Time, three o’clock on a sunny warm afternoon, I took the dog for a walk. At no point during the walk did he vanish in a puff of smoke. Dogs will sometimes vanish if you don’t hold the lead tightly, but they don’t generally smoke, and my dog has never vanished in a puff of smoke before, so you might find it was odd that I thought he might fall into the habit now.

But it was the Rapture, and I read somewhere, or saw a movie, or something, that “all dogs go to heaven.” It’s one of those Leviticus things, along with “People who weigh more than 250 pounds shouldn’t wear thongs” and “Most sequels are going to be a disappointment.” I don’t know many people who would qualify to get Raptured, and the ones I do know probably wouldn’t consent to be walked around the block on a lead, so I had to use my poor dog as a lab rat. I figured being outside might help with the god rays or something.

He puffed when he saw a squirrel, but he didn’t smoke, and he didn’t vanish. The experiment was a failure.

When I got home, I checked the New York Times web page. I didn’t think it was in any danger of going to heaven, but it might have reporters of people vanishing from New York streets, or at least Brooklyn.

We didn’t get raptured. I was vaguely disappointed since it’s one of the little ironies of the universe that the people most prone to believing that god favors them and they will vanish in a little puff of smoke are usually also the people you would most like to see vanish in a little puff of smoke.

One guy was planning to leave little heaps of used clothing around the local Pentecostal church with dry ice in the piles so they would smoke a little bit at the appointed time. The parishioners would come out, see the smoking piles of clothing, and wonder why THEY got taken, but the parishioners weren’t. I only hope the guy who pulled this cruel practical joke knew better than to try to handle the dry ice with his bare hands. You can get frostbite that way, you know.

My introduction to “end-of-the-world” fads came, not surprisingly, when I first moved to California. There was an engaging pop-history book that was popular, titled “The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California” by Kurt Gentry. The conceit of the book was that on Good Friday in an unspecified year, a massive earthquake all along the San Andreas Fault would cause all of coastal California west of the San Andreas to break off and sink into the ocean, and the book was a fond look back at California as it was. Gentry never intended the book to be a PREDICTION, but there’s always some people who just don’t get the joke. The year of the holocaust wasn’t mentioned, but the unnamed governor, a genial buffoon with an obsession with his public image, pretty clearly had to be Reagan, so conspiracy theorists finally concluded that the end of the world, or at least Los Angeles, was going to be in April of 1968.

The appointed time came and went, and Los Angeles stubbornly stayed put, putting out auto fumes and bad movies, and people concluded that as long as California continued to elect genial buffoons, there was always a chance of earthquakes.

Since then, there have been dozens of ‘end-times’ rages that have come and gone. There was the Grand Planetary Alignment of 1987. Y2K. Boston winning a World Series. The Obama election. Glenn Beck has a new one every week. David Icke warns that the Queen of England and George Bush are actually extraterrestrials and they are up to no good. I’m not sure if that qualifies as end-of-the-world, but the news might seem that way in the more loyalist pubs around the UK.

Now, from all this, you might conclude that I’ve decided that the world is no more likely to end anytime soon then the Toronto Maple Leafs are to win the Stanley Cup next month. You couldn’t be more wrong.

You see, Saint Germain came to me in a dream. This wasn’t the Saint Germain I know in real life—real nice guy, three handicap, likes to snow board, not at all snotty about being a saint. It wasn’t the same Saint Germain that several people I know claim to commune with regularly. He tends to be really ethereal and uses very stilted grammar. Kinda boring really.

No, this Saint Germain had a beard about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, cussed a lot, was on a Harley, and was wearing a DethlǿK T-shirt. I’m not quite sure how it was I was able to see the T-shirt behind that beard, but hell, the guy’s a saint. He can Do Stuff.

Anyway, he asked me if I had heard about that Mayan calendar theory. There’s a lot of New Agers where I live, so it’s pretty much impossible not to have heard about it.

The calendar is based on the old British pounds, shillings and pence system, and according to Wikipedia, “The 260 day count of days is commonly known to scholars as the Tzolkin, or Tzolk’in in the revised orthography of the Academia de las Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala. It is still used today by the Ixil, Q’eqchi’ and K’iche’ in the Guatemalan highlands. The Tzolk’in was combined with a 365-day vague solar year known as the Haab, or Haab year’ , to form a synchronized cycle lasting for 52 Haab’s, called the Calendar Round. Smaller cycles of 13 days (the trecena) and 20 days (the veintena) were important components of the Tzolk’in and Haab’ cycles, respectively.”

So if it’s the twelfth day of the trecena in the Tzolk’in, don’t step over any black cats. Any school child knows that.

And of course, from there, the calculations are simple. The world is going to end on December 21st, 2012.

That, or they just ran out of Haab room on the big round stone they used to make the calendar.

Saint Germain said, “It ain’t just a load of crap. The whole she-bang is gonna do the whole Nine Billion Names of God thing on the Winter Solstice next year.”

I made a mental note not to put too much time and effort into writing a winter solstice piece next year. But then I remembered the lesson of Kurt Gentry.

“It is a load of crap,” I explained. Germain pulled a bicycle chain out of his beard in a menacing manner and I rechecked my math.

“Silly me. I forgot to divide by twenty vientenas. December 21st it is.”

“Zepp, I have a Great Task for you in these final days. One that might prove most lucrative for you.”

I stroked my puny little beard, considering. I hate doing things that are lucrative. I won’t lie to you about that, or at least not much. But darn it, I’ve always had a soft spot for menacing, violent lunatics on motorcycles who ask me if I would like to perform a Great Task.

And it does say “Great Tasks performed cheerfully” on my business card. I knew he had me.

“OK,” I said, “what’s the scam?”

Germain patted his beard, absent-mindedly incinerating a nearby city in the process. “I want you to form a church. The Holy Church of the Saintly Ascended Masters.”

Germain smiled, revealing teeth that looked like an advancing German Army. “Do you know what a chakra is?”

I thought it was one of those blankets with arms that people call snuggies. Germain corrected me. It seems there’s seven of them, in colors roughly corresponding to the rainbow. They are used to describe your level of spiritual and ethical development. You start with your base chakra, which is red, and is located in your Paris Hilton. You work your way up to your crown chakra, which is purple, and forms a buffer between your brain and your dandruff. If you collect all seven you get to hang out with gods who speak Hindu and have never heard of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s supposed to be this really big thing, you know?

The higher your chakra, the higher up in the karmic stratosphere you go. But getting all seven chakras takes time, and with the Universe planning the Big Fizzle in just 18 months, time is at a premium. So Germain is establishing, through humble little me, The Holy Church of the Saintly Ascended Masters. Donate to the church, and get another chakra to add to your collection, in a lovely presentation case and with a certificate suitable for framing and signed by Saint Germain’s personal autoscribe machine. This week’s special: ten million dollars will get you a gold chakra. You get to hang out with John Paul II and Albert Schweitzer and Lenny Bruce. Yeah, that last one kinda surprised me, too.

Of course, most of you don’t have that kind of money, but even one chakra is better than none. If you send $50, cash and in small, unmarked bills, I will send you a base chakra. A striking crimson, this chakra conveys your basest and lowest instincts, and guarantees lots of sex with questionable partners. And since the world is coming to an end, you can bareback it.

This offer void in Kansas and Oklahoma, where sex would just be wasted.

Act now. Ensure your place, no matter how nasty, at the Brothel at the end of the universe.

Oh, and the sooner you send the money, the better your placement will be.

I would like to have cash as soon as possible so I can blow it all before December 21st.

All in the name of True Belief, you understand.

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