Thursday, May 26, 2011

OMG! Its... Its... Not the End? What!? Its... NOT!?

"Nothing lasts forever." I think just about everyone would agree with that. Whether it's a mountain, a mole-hill, a distant star or the Twinkie that's been lodged in the back-seat of your dad's Buick since 1967, all things eventually fade and are no more. As impermanent beings, we know and ungracefully accept this fact. One day, the end will come for our friends, our family, our neighbors, our IRS auditors, and even for ourselves. Yes, even the world itself will one day stop spinning on its familiar axis and its property value on the open market will plummet.

The question is, "When?" 

That's a tough one for a lot of people. On the one hand, according to science, our planet has a good five billion years before the warranty on our sun runs out. At which point, it will expand to a Red Giant, engulfing Earth and the other inner planets and become far more cost-effective to replace than repair. Especially when one considers that the entire Universe only has a mere, fifteen, sixteen trillion years to expand beyond all conceivable reason before it runs out of steam and starts collapsing back in on itself. Much like the current American economy. 

Science also has shown us that the formation of the Universe was a messy business that left quite a bit of litter behind in the form of giant ice balls and big, nasty rocks; many of which have the unfortunate habit of crashing into our planet uninvited and at highly inconvenient times. A fact the dinosaurs know about only too well... or would have, if there were any still alive... and had brains larger than a cough drop... which they're not and they didn't... so, forget I even brought it up. Anyway, the point is, however long our planet has, we as a species might get dusted as early as tomorrow afternoon - somewhere around tea time - should a large enough chunk of space litter choose that moment to come barging rudely into our atmosphere. 

On the other hand, there's God's Wrath: In the theory favored by those whose idea of the Universe is a small, cramped space consisting primarily of ghosts and ghouls and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night, the world ought to be coming to a screeching halt any day now. So imminent is the End, in fact, that you may not even get to finish reading this sentence before being either whisked away to glamorous Paradise or plunged into Eternal Damnation. Assuming you're still with me, let me make clear that the supporters of this concept are all absolutely sure that Armageddon is at hand and that we are living in the very Last Days. The signs are all there, they say, the omens and portents are in place, the numbers are right and all the prophecies are coming true. No doubt about it, the End is seriously nigh. So, ha-ha to everyone who just had their car washed. 

The trouble with this theory is that it's been beaten into the ground many, many, many times before. Infinite amounts of times before, over thousands of years, by millions of people. And yet, to state the obvious, they've all been wrong. However widespread the belief, however devout the believer, however precise the calculations, however unshakable the certainty, the promise of Doomsday's arrival has remained stubbornly unfulfilled. And yet, here we are in the dim, dun dawn of the 21st century, going at it yet again…

The why, the what, the where, the when, the who and the how is what this site is all about. This peculiar obsession humans have for watching the clock when we should be enjoying the party that has been going on for so many years now. Despite an utterly abysmal historical record of failure upon failure and reality's willful refusal to call time-out, it's one that never seems to lose its dubious charm or go mercifully away. 

So, thank you for taking time to look my pearls of wisdom before the Big One hits, the UV rays fry you, the nuclear winter freezes you, the Rapture captures you, the aliens abduct you, the earth opens up to swallow you, the black helicopters come to get you or the dreaded Satanic computer pixies plant a bar code in your forehead and plunge the world into commie-pinko conspiracy chaos that is soon to become a new reality, enjoy!

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