Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The End?

    For whatever it’s worth to you folks, I am 92.4% certain
that the world will not end on December 21. This, in contrast to the 96.8% certainty it won’t happen today. These beliefs are based upon the fact that I have not won the lottery to this point, and the numbers will go way down if and when that ever occurs.
    This being stated, I’d like to take this opportunity to squeeze in one last column before the solstice, just in case.
    First of all, I’d like to say that it has been a pleasure knowing most of you. Others, not so much. And it has been a pleasure being allowed by this fine newspaper to share my aimless ramblings with you for all these years. I was looking back through some of the archives I have managed to hang onto, and I believe that the first Into Focus column I wrote was a piece about the Cuban Missile Crisis, entitled “Armageddon on Hold.” With it being at least one of my first column pieces, I cut it out, framed it, and hung it on my wall. Thing is, I didn’t save the part of the paper that had the date on it, so I’m not sure when it was written. Best guess is around 2002. I’m thinking, if this is the end, wouldn’t it be sort of ironic that I’m looking at that dust-covered thing on the wall as I write this one?
    Next, let me make a pleading to you all that, sometime between now and the 21st, you don’t go all ape-crazy and decide to jump out your windows like those “War of the Worlds” people did in 1938. Remember that you live in Arkansas, and most of the houses here are no higher than two stories. If you jump, chances are you’ll just break your legs or something and you’ll be all gimped up if and when the big day gets here. If you do it sooner than later, you’ll have a bunch of extra medical bills and you might not be in any shape to get yourself over close to the window to watch.
    That’s what I’ll be doing – watching. I’ve got a cooler and a bunch of folding canvas chairs out there in the garage, just waiting for the shindig. There’ll be a few of us sitting out in the yard, probably at my brother’s house, trying (not too hard) to stay sober…and awake. An event like this doesn’t happen every day. My only dilemma at this juncture is whether or not to bother with bringing my camera. I mean, the possibility of some awesome photo opportunities is something to consider; but I don’t know if I’ll have time to look at them before…you know. At least we’ve reached the age of digital photography and I don’t have to drop the film off somewhere and wait an hour to see what I shot. So, I’ve got that going for me…which is nice.
    Regrets? I’ve had a few. But, then again, too few to mention. One thing I can think of is never taking the time to look up a little toad who once set me up to fire me from a job that wasn’t so great to begin with…to properly “thank” him. On the other hand, had I done that, I would probably be in jail and they wouldn’t let me have internet service so I could ask all you nice people to not use whatever time you may have left to enact revenge on somebody, like some idiot mall shooter. If we’re going out, let’s go out with some dignity, shall we?
    If there is a December 22, that day will be longer than the one before it. The next day, longer than that one; and so on until the next solstice. That will be June 21, as I recall. It should be warm then; t-shirt weather. And my hope is that millions of people will drag their coolers and lawn chairs back out into their yards on that longest day of the year to gaze once again into the sky – and that every one of them are wearing the shirts I manufactured, saying “I survived the Apocalypse and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!” They’ll be reasonably priced. Get your orders in before it’s too late.
    In the next installment of Into Focus, I’ll reveal to you all how to turn lead into gold and run your cars on a mixture of water and Johnson grass. Maybe. That’s scheduled for December 31. Stick around.

© 2012, Rick Baber