No 2012 Wrap Party This Week

November 16, 2009

Last week the Hollywood special effects poster child film, 2012, went into wide distribution. As expected, the sensationalism of the effects drew throngs of viewers. The film captured $65 million or $160 million (depending upon how you assess box office scores) from the pockets of the public, dramatically gaining on reclaiming its estimated cost of $260 million. I’m not going to see the film, but I have poured over the reviews. Even without the reviews I could find and clearly see the unfortunate effects. Yep, the fanning of fires about the end of the world on astrological forums stoked new fervor in Mayan/disaster postings. No doubt the topic is receiving its due from water cooler conversations in work places by those witnessing the celluloid spectacle. Evidently P. T. Barnum and H. G. Wells have reincarnated and are alive and well either in Hollywood or at the helm of the largest fear-based blog sites.

This is all a complete waste of words, energy and life.

Okay, so let’s pour some much needed water on the rekindled end of the world (eotw) flames. How do I know there will be no end of the world? Well, the world might end someday either by human abuses of the planet’s resources or collision from an asteroid (and NOT Planet X, Niburu… there’s no such thing), and if that were to coincide with the completion of the Mayan Calendar I would be greatly chagrined. I am working with the assumption that any asteroid collision that may occur in the future shall not correlate with the Mayan Calendar’s turn over. Furthermore, scientists feverishly work to find ways of preventing such a collision, of which we would likely have enough of a heads up to get Bruce and Billy Bob back in space.

Here’s where I’m putting my faith. When Y2K rolled around I wrote a column for the Science Fiction Channel’s website where I could rant on about the fact that Y2K was the equivalent of a hoax. How did I know? Having two computers with identical software and files, one day I boldly reset the clock in one of those computers to January 2, 2000. No crash.

Last week I was cranking out data for the newly refined orbit of yet another dwarf planet, 225088 (colloquially called Snow White). As I was formatting the data into tidy columns, I noticed that the data did not fade from the pages once I passed December whatever it is in 2012. So again, I reset my computer’s clock past the fateful date. It still worked.

Ridiculous? Not nearly as ridiculous as the fear-mongering surrounding 2012. You know, evidently P. T. Barnum never said, “there’s a sucker born every minute,” but he surely applied the statement. When I was a child, neighborhood kids used to report during “scary time” that giants lived in the Earth and at will, could pop up through the ground and eat us all – a plot point somewhat applied to the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds. They also said that if you chewed off your fingernails when worrying about such things, the sharp nail points would go to your heart and stab you dead.

When visiting relatives in Cooperstown, New York as a child, I went to the fabulous Farmer’s Museum. There they had a stone fabricated to look like a petrified giant, which one day was miraculously unearthed in upstate New York. It was a ruse directed by the brilliant P. T. Barnum. The terror there must have been. Even in nineteen sixty something while staring at this impressive hoax, it shot shivers up my spine. What if the hoax was: this hoax was real?

The bottom line is: people commonly await the uncertainty of the future with great angst. So maybe if absurd predictions are attached to a given date, and we make it through that given date there is hope for humanity?

So, I’ll restate my contention. When the Mayan Calendar expires, the cycle simply starts again. Throw another shrimp on the barbie, bellow out another stanza of Auld Lang Syne and have a beverage indigenous to the plants where the Maya once flourished. If I’m wrong, meet me in the afterlife and I’ll spring for a beverage of your choice. I’ll be cash laden up there, because I’m planning on taking it all with me.

For now, take a breath. Forget about 2012. There are still two years of life that require your attention and the application of the celestial movements between now and then. Wouldn’t it suck to lose two years of your life to fretful, meaningless worry?

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