Come on baby, you can do it! Come closer, just a little bit closer …
I know it seems unkind to hope that the comet Elenin gets the nudge that sends it crashing down onto the earth on Oct. 16, but come on, I’ve been waiting for some kind of end of civilization as we know it for the past 30 years and you know what? Nada.
My waiting game began in the 1980s with the fear of nuclear war between Reagan’s America and the Soviet Union.
Tensions were high and it looked for sure like someone would do something they ought not to do and things would escalate out of control. Yeah, that was me and my buddy in the radiation suits outside Nat Bailey Stadium, passing out leaflets for the Walk for Peace.
Why plan for the future, I thought, if there really wasn’t going to be one?
That nuclear war never happened though and the Soviet Union collapsed. Even Televangelist Pat Robertson’s prediction of the end times in 1982 didn’t come to pass.
Not a problem though, as impending ecological collapse seamlessly replaced nuclear war and I spent the next few years working to stave that off, too.
When I finally weaned myself from the Green Party office and organizing or attending rallies against this or that, the fear didn’t leave me, not really.
I never really bought Harold Camping’s first end of the world prediction in 1994. He just came across as too much of a crank. Similarly, Hon-Ming Chen’s prediction that God would land in his spacecraft and appear on cable television in March of 1998 — while marginally more credible — didn’t really fill the bill.
However, the impending Year 2000 that loomed through my late 30s filled the bill nicely. Again, what was the point of preparing for a retirement that would never happen?
The collapse never happened though, or at least not yet, and my focus turned to the Year 2000.
I just wanted to live that long to see what would happen. Would planes fall out of the sky and our civilization crumble on January 1, 2000?
Richard Noone’s prediction of a new ice age in May of that year also didn’t pan out. However, global warming was kind enough to take over after that and I began to stock up on canned food. That, I said, was my retirement plan.
My apocalyptic vision got a bit of a boost in 2008 when some predicted the startup of the Large Hadron Collider would cause a black hole to swallow up the earth, but again, nothing.
Camping tried again last year, but my hopes weren’t really raised — that religious crank thing again.
So now, with the comet Elenin headed this way, maybe my plan to nimbly climb out of reach of the mega-tsunami, hunker down in a cave to escape the fireball or flee to the Interior as the coast crumbles behind me might — cross my fingers — come to pass. Then, as the last man on earth, I can repopulate the globe with the handful of survivors who are also likely to have made it.
If that flops, there’s always 2012, but after that I have to wait until the arrival of the comet Apophis 99942 in April of 2036 and by then I’ll already be well immersed in dogfood and cardboard box culture and, realistically, unable to run away. And repopulate the earth?
Let’s just say I’d better start hoarding Viagra.