Saturday, May 21, 2011

Maybe We Should Have Paid More Attention to Grandpa...


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 Aging is a part of life.  As the years pass, we share new experiences, gain new knowledge, and learn about the meaning of life and our place in this world.  This place where we ultimately decide we belong depends largely on how our mind is molded in our earlier life.  And with every year that goes by this line of thinking shifts and solidifies until, in most cases, our ability to reason rationally disintegrates into an amorphous mess of disconnected thoughts, wrinkles, and often times endearing far-off stares.  And drooling.

Near the end, our opinions are unwavering and concrete, and our deep-rooted prejudices towards the minorities who bombed our countries half a century ago are accepted.  And eventually, we start dropping like flies.  Like an old man at my local McDonald's once said: "When you're my age, reading the obituaries is like going to a party, because all your friends are there."  He also said, "When I was a kid I used to climb on top of my garage and pretend I was a hawk, except I didn't use the umbrella."  Although, to this day, I haven't the foggiest idea what he was talking about.

Inevitably, some of us leave this world sooner than others.  And those of us that cling on to the last shreds of half-coherent, arthritic glory are a giant pain in the ass to whoever will hear our complaints.  We get bored, we get lonely, and, if we own a radio empire, we make multiple doomsday predictions in one last ditch attempt to feel relevant, wanted, and alive.

Meet Harold Camping.  An 89-year-old Christian radio mogul, decrepit old fart, and prominent predictor of the end of the world, Camping has announced that on May 21, 2011, the world will face ultimate moral judgment, sending those on Jesus' Nice List to Heaven, and those on his Naughty, Non-Christian, or Non-Baptized List to the fiery pits of Hell.  On the surface, this may seem like a malicious and racist attempt to undermine the real end of the world as predicted by the Mayans.  When examined more closely, however, Camping's seemingly unsympathetic jab at a culture that could really use a win after that whole Spanish-Church-burning-all-Mayan-historical-writings thing is nothing more than an endearing old man making a harmless statement that most people won't even hear.

Oh wait, he has an international radio empire listened to by millions of impressionable people doesn't he.  Shit.

And there was also that part about some of those listeners quitting their jobs and spending their life savings so that they wouldn't be weighed down when they float up to eternal happiness by things like pockets stuffed with money and, you know, employment.

When one examines Camping's argument for why the world will begin to end May 21st, it is hard not to agree with him.  Camping believes Jesus got double-crossed on April 1, 33 A.D. on what must have been one bitch of an April Fools prank.  May 21, 2011, exactly 722,500 days later, is of great significance because Camping multiplied 10 by 17 by 5, which is of great significance because when you're 89-years old, it's nice to having something in life more significant than being able to go three hours without pooping in your trousers.  When Camping made the mathematical realization, he "just about fell off his chair."  Unfortunately, "just about" falling off a chair is not quite the same as "actually" falling off a chair, and we have thus not yet discovered the mathematical equation for a broken hip.  Regardless, the man's logic for when Judgment Day will occur is rock solid.

Just as it was rock solid in 1994, the last time he predicted Judgment Day.  So about as rock solid as talc.  Boom.  Geology burn.

The ultimate blame for this fear mongering and all-around Judgment Day hullabaloo lies with the family of Harold Camping.  I have, and always will, give a free pass to crazy old people for almost anything.  I support their right to spew unwavering racism, their right to yell at children who set foot on their lawn, and any other shenanigans they tired brains could possibly come up with.  With that said, however, it is the responsibility of the family to keep their respective old folk from accessing things like microphones, and large sums of money that could potentially be used for a nationwide advertising campaign aimed at scaring the bejesus out of those susceptible to Jesus.

May 21st will come without a catastrophic event or a mass rapturing.  But hopefully it will come with lessons learned.  Maybe we shouldn’t quit our jobs just because some old windbag went John Nash on the Bible and thought the world would end.  Maybe we shouldn't wait until two days before a potential rapture event to atone for all the questionable things we've done that may prevent us from snatching 72 V-cards once we leave this world.  And maybe, just maybe, we should pay a little more attention to Grandpa now and then.

With that said, this seems like an appropriate time to announce that I do, in fact, know how the world is going to end.  And when it does, it won't be because of a worldwide moral judgment.  It will be because of this.

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