|Ah, the Mayans. Their pyramids were stepped, and|
their calendars were round. And they cultivated
chocolate, so good on them.
(Note to self: Write a short story about doomsday cultists in the roaring 20s. Obviously, the characters are much more interested in drinking at speakeasies than ending the world but WASPs would still stop by the doomsday cult ritual from a sense of social obligation. They'd even have a ladies auxiliary to arrange the snacks.)
Intellectually, I knew that the Mayan calendar was cyclical and absolutely nothing would happen. Or nothing noticeable, at any rate. Remember the Harmonic Convergence? Nothing happened. Except that new age ideas became more mainstream, which is exactly the sort of cultural shift the Harmonic Convergence was supposed to mark.
And the Harmonic Convergence was related to the Mayan calendar. So, anybody feel any different in the past three years?
Come to think of it, Superstorm Sandy was in late 2012. So we're entering a new age of environmental disasters? (I blame Katrina on poor levee maintenance. That one's on us. Of course, climate change is on us too. So...I dunno. Do I look like someone who knows where they're going with this?)
My point is that in late 2012, I was in a book store and saw the display of 2013 calendars. And I thought, "how optimistic."
I mean, of course the world wasn't ending. And then we would need new calendars.
There was a slight chance that the Earth would be destroyed by Vogons, or we'd be invaded by the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal. But there's a statistical possibility of that happening any day.
Still, I feel like there must have been at least one person working at a calendar company who knew that they'd feel a tiny bit foolish if the world ended and they'd spent the last year having heated discussions over which twelve penguin photos to put into a calendar that no one would ever get to use.
There had to have been someone working at a movie studio half hoping the world would end because they'd just greenlit a real stinker. An editor at a book publisher got the news that the novel she'd been championing wasn't being giving any marketing support and she thought, "What's the point? World's ending before the damn thing launches anyway."
Someone got dumped on Thanksgiving and, faced with yet another tedious New Year's Eve without even a date to amuse them thought, "Maybe we'll have a lovely apocalypse and I won't have to go to Steve's annual NYE bash after all. Why am I friends with these people? well, I'm not getting new friends until after the holidays just in case we don't all get that far."
NASA made a video to post on December 22 to explain why the world hadn't ended. I just know that somebody working on it cracked a joke about how silly they'd feel if it did. And then someone else said they should auto schedule the thing so that it would go live in case no one was alive to hit publish. And then they got into a long, involved conversation about whether or not that would be pointless depending on the exact nature of the apocalypse and they'd all get really worked up over it because that's how scientists roll.
I was 99% certain that the end was not nigh. The other 1% was only because I didn't want to to be taken by surprise if it actually was nigh. Because that would be embarrassing. And (to paraphrase The Princess Bride) who wants to die embarrassed?