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Apocalypse soon?

I’m going to be in Mexico City on the 21st of December 2012. For those of you who don’t know (bless your cotton socks), that’s when the apocalypse is happening.

That’s right kids, you’ve only got three months to build a shelter in your backyard and stockpile the SPC spaghetti.

Basically, my proximity to the alleged epicentre of the apocalypse is freaking me out a bit. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but there is that part of me that says: ‘What happens if the crazys are right? What if the world does go all Apocalypto?’ And finally, ‘What if I’VE WASTED MY LIFE?’

(Although it might all be worth it to see a drunken Claire Moreton going at a piñata in a sombrero, but who knows?)

Plus I’m going to be pretty pissed if Macchu Piccu gets all exploded before I get to see it.

Basically, all this doomsday drama is grounded in the Mayan calendar (hence my geographical trepidation).

The Mayans were astronomy whizzes, and created a ‘Long Count’ calendar which measured time in 5, 125 year cycles. Apparently our current cycle began in 3114 BC, meaning that it’s due to end (and the next one begin) on December 21st.

Belief is all based on a translation of hieroglyphs on a Mexican monument, apparently saying that on that day “there will occur blackness and the descent of the Bolon Yookte” – so yeah, it’s just a touch ambiguous.

So there are a fair few theories on the exact course of events that’ll happen that day. And while I’m still inclined to think that this is all going to end up like the Y2K bug (hoarders buying bulk UHT milk and canned cocktail frankfurts – my mother included), let’s give them a bit of column space anyway.

–          The Earth will align with the approximate centre of the Milky Way (clearly, the Mayans knew their stuff). This has led to theories of alien invasion, and also allegations that the Mayans themselves were interplanetary visitors.

–          What I’m going to call the ‘Cusack effect’ – that the earth will suffer disastrous environmental consequences. It will spontaneously crack open, Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue will crumble, and that fireballs will rain from the sky (and if the movie is to be believed, will miraculously miss your car, despite their relative sizes).

–          It’s not going to happen! Some critics believe that the hieroglyphs were actually mistranslated, and others have found reference to dates far in the future – some almost 8,000 years.

But here comes my favourite: ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. Basically I’m really hoping I survive, so I can go on a big adventure with Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone and that guy from The Social Network, searching for Twinkies, hanging out in amusement parks and preferably meeting Bill Murray.

My gun-toting, zombie-slaying fantasies aside, some people do actually believe the world as we know it will come to an end this December (and right before Christmas, think of all that pudding wasted).

Four ‘believing’ families have recently been featured on a US show (where else?) called Livin’ for the Apocalypse, which chronicles their lead up to the big day.

One family of nine has built an entire bunker, complete with greenhouse, full size kitchen and well-stocked artillery. Plus all the bulk soup you can poke a firearm at.

There’s also a couple who, with their son, make a game out of practising to put on their survival gear in their living room, complete with gasmasks.

Yep, these people exist.

But seriously, back to the real concerns.

The US Homeland Security Department recently delivered a public health announcement urging citizens to prepare for the zombie-pocalypse.

Yes, it may all have been a tongue-in-cheek exercise to help Americans prepare for ‘real’ disasters (what is more ‘real’ than the flesh eating undead, Obama?), but come December, they could be eating their words. Or brains.

I’m going to take this as the perfect excuse to celebrate on December 20th, getting really drunk with friends and listen to R.E.M.’s ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it’ on repeat. And I suggest you do the same.*

(*In the event of a non-pocalypse, the writer takes no responsibility for hangovers or noise complaints incurred as a result of this article’s recommendations.)

Published in UniLife magazine.

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