this photograph of Muggz has nothing to do with the end of the world, but sometimes post-apocalyptic movies show empty streets in cities. Otherwise you should not try to make poetic sense out of how this fits with the alternate ending below.
Addison announced to me on the way to school yesterday that he had found out that the world was going to end this weekend. He was pretty detached and non-plussed about it, wondering why people liked to imagine apocalypses and I told him that I wasn't sure, but I suspected that it was a way of measuring the world against the inevitability of one's own mortality, and also a great way to really amp up your worst fears in a way that may well make a whole crowd turn into a mob or a religious movement or something. I told him about the way that the "rapture" was dangled over my head like an imminent guillotine during all of my growing up years, and that I suspected that most doomsayers had similar urges-to-power that the religious authorities who watched over my youth had (which were probably similarly un-examined and unintentional, too).
My minister Harry has a delightful meme that he returns to every couple of years when he reminds us that the pharisees (who hated Jesus) were the religious people of their day. And then, in case everyone *doesn't* get it he points out that that is us. The people who are in the room, listening to his sermon. And those who are sitting in church every Sunday. You'd think people would get all quiet and moody at this, but usually people inappropriately laugh at this moment. But his point is that the really really seriously religious people were the folks who *least* recognized Jesus as a messiah. And his point is that while the church holds a doctrine that Christ will return to earth again to usher in his kingdom -- the likelihood is that religious people will be the LAST people to recognize him or the kingdom.
And (no surprise given my past) I love this reading of Christian tradition: that Christian scriptures -- true though I affirm them to be -- are more inscrutable than dependable. And dependable readings that everyone starts to agree with? Should be rendered suspect (since they're more likely bids - for - authority).
Plus. That's a good reason to use your imagination.
So I'm imagining Ends of the World That Look Different than meteor showers and planet collisions and nuclear bombs and the disembowling of the unholy. If I would have started this imagination exercise earlier, I would have dreamed up 50 ways for the world to end as a special doomsday clock blog series leading up to the end of the world on December 21st. As it is -- I'll have to write just two alternative endings -- and maybe, if the Mayan Gods are reading the blogosphere? They can incorporate my ideas.
Alternate Ending #1:
What if the world ended by slowing down. Like physically slowing down. So starting at midnight on the 21st everything started going slower. The sun, the Earth, people, cars, clocks. Birds flying (they wouldn't be able to for long), wind, water boiling, our hearts pumping?
People wouldn't really catch on until about 10 am (that's how slowly things would slow). By that time the digital signals flowing through our cables would be so confusingly slow that we would have lost national media and electricity and I'm imagining everyone walking, very slowly toward home. Trying to just get back to the people we love so we could all kind of slowly fall asleep together.
I'm imagining that most people wouldn't make it back. Others would be crying, their sobs distorted by time, their tears flowing very slowly down their cheeks and beards. But other people would take the hands of strangers and walk together -- realizing that smiling and welcoming the inevitable happiness together is a happier ending than an unrealistic and unrealized dream.