When the world ends, I’ll be ready.
I keep a notebook and a pen in my backpack at all times; that’s my Apocalypse survival kit. Most of society ambles casually through the day completely ignoring the fact that our time on this planet could be up at any moment. On the other extreme, some predict it’s coming and prepare for it. I have a couple of survivalist friends who stockpile weapons and ammunition and wait for the day that the zombies attack. When it comes to the “when and how” regarding the end of the world, there’s an infinite spectrum of theories. Some think it will be earthquakes or asteroids or something else God makes happen in his big cosmic game of Sim City. There are others that believe Xenu and the Thetans are out there. Some know every Nostradamus quatrain by heart. Nobody has been right so far, though.
Charles Wesley thought it would end in 1794. Montanus failed to predict it in the 4th Century. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have tried way more than once, incorrectly throwing darts at 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994. Scientists jumped into the mix, thinking Halley’s Comet would end it all in 1910 as the tail swept past Earth and poisoned us. Then there was the Jupiter Effect, and Y2K, and the Hindu’s Kali the Destroyer. Hale-Bopp made an entire cult of people commit mass suicide so that they could escape Judgment Day and go ride on a big ship that was soaring through space behind the comet. And then there’s the guy on the corner with the sign and the beard and the milky eyes that has been wrong about it every day for as long as I can remember.
And now we have 2012. I’m proud of the Mayans. As a comedian, I’m even jealous. It’s the epitome of good writing and patience and timing. Clearly the early Mesoamericans were just making stuff up on a goof. I personally love the idea that they were simply screwing with us. “C’mere, Tlacolotl. Hahaha! This will be hilarious one day! What if we just stop it right there? Hahaha! That should freak someone out one day.”
A 5000-year-old punchline. The ultimate call back. It would only be funnier if it ended on April Fool’s Day.
Anyone that puts stock in 2012 as global stop time is giving far too much credit to a civilization that was convinced that the world was created in 3114 BC. They are actually dumber than Sarah Palin in that regard. Still, it makes for a lot of fun speculation. What happens if they’re right? Are we ready? I think I am. Assuming I survive whatever cataclysmic event destroys civilization as we know it, life for any human that remains is going to be quite chaotic, that much is certain. How are things going to be on this little ball of rock and water if the sky does coming tumbling down?
I have to start with the supposition that everything I rely on will be gone and that I won’t have the knowledge to rebuild it. I don’t know how anything works. Nothing. I basically live a life of faith. I have faith that my car will start, that clean water will fall from the wall when I need it, that somehow electric energy will be waiting for me at the little plastic socket when I shove something plug-shaped into it, that the artificial winter I keep locked in a box in my kitchen will keep my food cold, that by somehow hitting a series of buttons I can send a message across the world in less than a second, that I can toss a pill down my throat and destroy any bad microscopic bacteria that may be affecting me. It all might as well be witchcraft as far as I’m concerned.
I don’t know how an engine works or how to make paper or how to create a solar cell. I’m dumb, or I will be in a post-apocalyptic world, anyway. So what exactly makes me think that I’m ready?
I think that the world is going to be run by the fringe. The unaccepted of today’s society will be the only hope for the future. Archaic jobs will resurface. The computer engineer will starve to death while the girl that makes homemade dragon candles in her mom’s basement to sell at the Renaissance Festival will be rich. I don’t know how to make a candle. She’s going to get my business. You know what I won’t need? Access to the Internet from my useless, unpowered laptop.
We live in an age where huge, hulking robotic machines do all of the un-fun stuff. They strip meat from the bone in massive factories and shape metal and cook our food in mass quantity so that all we have to do is heat it up. In the future we’re going to need the butcher and the baker and the aforementioned candlestick maker. Hopefully they’ll be too busy rebuilding the world this time around to spend their days hanging out in a bathtub together.
The nerdy thirty-year-old that taught himself how to make chainmail so he could live-action role-play with his friends; that guy will be a millionaire. He’ll be the next big thing. Only a handful of celebrities as we know them would make it though. Bobby Flay and Bob Vila will probably be fine. You know who won’t? Snookie. The Situation. Perez Hilton. Someone will eat them.
All my musician friends should be okay in the new world, too. With no mp3s or iPods, the Minstrel will flourish again. We got lazy and forgot about him. Somewhere along the line we traded tradition for the reliability and convenience of digital files. Today, in the age of technology, any song you want is just one illegal download away. Post-Apocalypse, however, you’ll have to wait for a Minstrel to wander out of the forest with a lute. And what if he’s a crappy Minstrel? What if he has a bad memory?
“Sing that song I like!”
“She was a fast machine, she kept her la la la la la la, something, something, hmm hmm hmm that I ever seen…”
“I- I- I- Wait, wait! I know ‘Brown Eyed Girl’!”
“Every shitty Minstrel knows ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. C’mon, Tom. I told you we should have gone to see Metallica at the castle.”
All my hopes lie on the resurrection of certain jobs. That’s where I find myself becoming optimistic. I’m honest when I say that I don’t know one single thing about survival. I can’t cook, I can’t start a fire, and I don’t own a gun. I do, however, tell a damn good story. When there’s an opening for Bard or Jester, I’m in. I’ll trade my tales around a campfire in exchange for deer meat or protection or sunglasses like in The Book of Eli.
That, or someone will make a jacket out of my skin.
I really hope they like jokes in the future.