Some Say Fire, Some Say Ice, I Say To Hell With It

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“Bachelors have consciences; married men have wives.”

Samuel Johnson, or perhaps H.L. Mencken, depending on your source.


Darleen decided, for reasons best known to herself, to butt heads—literally—with her mare, and the result was a severe concussion. The mare is fine, thank you for asking, but given how hardheaded my wife can be, it could have gone either way.

One of the consequences of all this is that she is under doctor’s orders to do absolutely nothing: complete physical and cognitive rest. Apart from the fact that asking Darleen to do nothing is akin to asking a hummingbird not to fly, I was a little stunned by the concept of “cognitive rest.” How do you turn your brain off?

Darleen’s Lord and Master is under doctor’s orders to enforce this total rest. Right. Have you met my wife? You can order me to keep the sun from rising tomorrow, and I can even try to carry out the order, but—to paraphrase Dr. Phil—let’s see how that works for you. There may be men, hairy-chested, two-fisted men with jaws and wills of iron, who can tell their wives what to do and when to do it, but they’re not married to Darleen.

Fortunately, I make up in creativity what I lack in authority around the home, so I duct-taped my bride to the sofa and we set out to discover the wonders of daytime television programming. Nothing too stimulating, of course; no CNN or anything like that.

We quickly made two discoveries. One is that most daytime television is as close to complete cognitive rest as you can get short of a chemically induced coma. The other is that there is a whole block of programming devoted to shows about people who believe the world is coming to an end and who are preparing for that uplifting event.

Apart from the disconnect of making material preparations for the end of the material world, I was fascinated by all the looming disasters I hadn’t even dreamed of. Some people think the end will be precipitated by a total economic collapse. That one is nonsense, of course. I’ve already experienced total economic collapse and I’m still here. But other people think giant earthquakes and the resulting tsunamis will destroy the planet. Some are convinced biological or viral pandemics, natural or manmade, will end life as we know it. Others favor devastating volcanoes, or the sudden shifting of the earth’s poles, so that we all get thrown into outer space. More realistic and down-to-earth types lean toward widespread nuclear war between East and West, or North and South, or possibly Northeast and Southwest. And apparently there are giant calderas all over the place, poised to explode at any moment. Who knew?

And each group has its own individual way of preparing for their particular Armageddon. Personally, if any or all of this happens, I intend to open a really good bottle of red wine I have been saving for some special occasion—you can’t get more special than the end of the world—and enjoy the show.

The only thing most of them do agree on is that the final cataclysm is likely to come in accordance with the Mayan calendar, which is to say the world will end on December 21, 2012. (Note to self: buy Darleen’s birthday present early.) There are some scoffers and naysayers who point out that the Mayans didn’t exactly do a great job of predicting their own decline, but I shall ignore them and get on the Armageddon bandwagon with my own prophecy, one you can go to the bank with:

Jameson’s Vision of the Final Trump:

December 21, 2012 will begin with the utter collapse of all known financial and economic systems in the industrialized world. This collapse will be so total that for one brief, shining moment Niger, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia will be the richest nations on earth. Unfortunately, their moment of glory will be short because on that day disparate terrorist organizations will unleash a coordinated release of biological and viral weapons of mass destruction, which will only serve to prove terrorists are not very smart since none of these agents will have time to work. An all out nuclear holocaust will erupt between all the known nuclear powers—America, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, North Korea, Israel, Iran—as well as unknown ones. Alabama, for instance. You probably didn’t know Alabama had the bomb. As a result of these explosions, tectonic plates around the globe will shift into high gear, with the Cascadia Subduction Zone, San Andreas, New Madrid, Denali, and all other major fault lines letting go. The smallest of these earthquakes will register over 9.0, but most will be a perfect 10. Mauna Loa, Mount St. Helens, Vesuvius, Cotopaxi, Pinatubo, and all other known volcanoes will simultaneously erupt, but no one will notice because the Yellowstone caldera, Lake Toba, Taupo, and all other calderas will erupt with such violence that normal volcanoes will look like pimples. And at precisely that moment a new and previously undetected asteroid the size of Rhode Island will slam into what’s left of the planet.

And as all this chaos and death and annihilation is raining down around our ears, as I’m trying to enjoy my last sip of wine, Darleen will turn to me and say, “Did you remember to clean the cat box this morning?”

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