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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Is that the sky falling?

Posted Friday, December 7, 2012, at 11:57 AM

It's been in the news, on the History Channel and even the Today show, so there's got to be a hint of truth to the story. The end is near.

We've been informed the Mayan calendar ends this year on Dec. 21. Since the Mayan calendar does not go beyond the fourth Friday in December, some experts believe neither will we. The day of reckoning is predicted to occur right before Christmas. If that isn't a good reason to peek at your presents, I'm not sure what is.

The world ending generates numerous repercussions, which I'm sure you've already pondered. Missing out on Christmas presents and New Year's champagne might be the least of our worries. Or good fortunes.

Okay, so the world will cease to exist, but let's attempt to perceive the glass as half full, shall we? (The sky may be falling, but why not at least try to put on a happy face? Maybe order a pizza or something.)

I realize destruction and mayhem might ensue, but if the world ends in two weeks, I will no longer have to fret about gaining a few extra pounds over the holidays. I can eat all the Twinkies I want -- if only I could find them at the store. I won't have to be concerned with the current fashion trends or if boat shoes for men are coming back into style (although according to my husband, they never left).

I won't have to agonize over whether I should phase out my Facebook account to focus on Twitter. Fiscal cliffs will be the least of our worries and we'll never know how the whole Star Wars saga would have played out now that Disney owns the franchise.

We should be used to a little destruction and mayhem; they happen all the time -- in ordinary places like Main Street and Sesame Street. Consider the Elmo debacle. If the world ends, Elmo won't have to worry about getting kicked off the block he's called home for 20-plus years. Sesame Street will be no more.

Speaking of guys in red fur coats, Santa won't need to spend an entire night delivering all those presents we don't really need to buy (end of the world or not). We won't have to watch the news to see if William and Kate become parents to a future king or queen -- or wonder if Kate ever has a craving for Twinkies.

Oh sure, we'll have seen the last of sunrises an sunsets, but we won't have to set the alarm for oh dark thirty or be concerned with silly concepts like bedtimes, making the team, saving for retirement, helping put the kids through college or whether Hugh Hefner will ever tie the knot. I won't have to muddle my way through eighth grade math homework ever again. Exclamation point.

Endings are hard. I get that. I've always had difficulty with transitions myself. But endings are merely the start to new beginnings. (Think of that little red Elmo!) Consider Rhea Perlman and Danny Devito. They recently broke up after 30 years of marriage. Al and Tipper Gore after 40. (I blame that one on global warming.) Kim Kardashian lasted 72 very long days before filing her papers. If these ordinary celebrities can pick themselves up and start over again maybe the whole end of the world thing isn't so bad after all.

Besides, the expert doomsday advocates obviously don't have access to Wikipedia. If they did, they'd note their claims expose a slight misinterpretation of the Mayan calendar. This is understandable (to me at least) because numbers in general put me in a tizzy and the Mayan calendar is complicated and full of them.

The Mayan people measure time using varying cycles or counts. As best I understand it, Dec. 21 of this year is the end of a measure called a long count that began over 5,000 years ago. According to our buddies at Wiki, the Mayan calendar isn't ending on Dec. 21. Instead, another long count begins -- this one slated to end in the year 4772. By then, I don't believe any of us (except for Santa, Elmo and Hugh Hefner) will be around to worry about whether the world is ending then or not.



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Jill Pertler
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