If those who believe in certain interpretations of the Mayan calendar are correct, this New Year's Day will be the last. Ever.
Impossible as it may seem,the world will end. Dick Clark will be unemployed.
On the bright side, we'll get most of 2012 before the Final Slapstick strikes. The solar expansion or black hole or errant asteroid or collision with the planet Niburu (details vary) isn't due until December 21. Although, if a black hole is getting near enough to swallow us, or a planet close enough to collide with us, things going to be . . . different . . . by about August. We might not even make it through Thanksgiving, and if we do, I'd imagine it will be a hasty meal, perhaps snatched piping-hot from a burning McDonald's.
I personally believe that end-of-the-world predictions are usually wish fulfillment for the embittered, or desperate stabs at relevance by third-rate religious figures. There has to be something satisfying in knowing it's all going kerflooey for anyone who ever underestimated one or denied the integrity of one's pipeline to the divine. And for the religious, there's additional sweetness in knowing that there's No Vacancy in Eternity for those who disagreed with you. Instead, it'll just be Believers, in perpetual and blessed agreement.
"Well, you were certainly right."
"I sure was."
"Really, really right."
"Couldn't have been righter."
Sentenced, in other words, to the most boring conversation since life began, forever and ever, amen. Makes Hell sound interesting.
So I don't actually believe I'm not going to oversleep on December 22, the same way I have almost every morning of my life. But I have kind of a pang of regret about it.
Suppose it were true. Suppose you had known last night, when you made your resolutions, that they were for your -- for everyone's -- last year. How would they have been different?
Would we resolve to be kinder? To love more? To love better? To make amends? Would we FINALLY do that one thing we've wanted to do all our lives but always put off? Would we gather family around us, and reach out to other families? Facing a common obliteration, would we finally see through the external differences that separate us in so many ways and discover the ways in which we're alike? Beneath the cosmic flyswatter, would we realize at last that we're all flies after all and admire one another's iridescence, translucent wings, and compound eyes? Maybe take a final flight together?
Some people believe that the Mayan calendar doesn't predict the world's end, but rather its transformation, that the event will be spiritual instead of physical. If that's so, wouldn't a new year like the one suggested above be a great preparation?
Or maybe it would be a good idea just to pretend that 2012 is the end of everything, and do all those things anyway. Live the year as though it were our last, and we want it to be our best. If we do that, we'll be in a great position to make resolutions for 2013.
Happy New Year, everyone.
Tim -- Sundays