This December according to the Mayan calendar we will see the end of a b'ak'tun, a 5125 year time period which culminates according to Mayan beliefs with a "world changing" event. Some argue this "world changing event" translates to an End Times type situation. Or as Francis Ford Coppola and many heavy metal bands have called it: the "Apocalypse." Solar flares, the earth hitting a black hole, run amok earthquakes or Mayan demons attacking the UN are some of the ways the world may end right around Christmas time. If you're drinking a beverage, now is the time to do a spit take. That's right, this is serious shit. But what are the real odds of this happening? And if it does happen what can you do about it? After waiting around for a few weeks for someone to give me these answers I realized "oh, I'm writing the article. I must be the one who has to go find out this stuff."
I posted these pressing questions on Craigslist and a Big Bang Theory chat room and still there were no answers (except for a picture of a lady in a condo who wanted some company and a sectional sofa for $20 that smelled like cats). I called The Occasional and told them it was a dead end. The normally polite editor suddenly seemed very agitated, "Jesus, can you really not figure this out? Go speak to scientists and historians and ask them how for real this is."
I decided to speak to scientists and historians and ask them how for real this is. The experts and I met mostly at the 101 Cafe on Franklin in Los Angeles and sometimes at Pla-boy Liquors in Hollywood. The scientists had many intriguing and provocative opinions on the idea of an impending cataclysmic event. "This is nonsense and a waste of time," said a lot of them before immediately leaving. "You are distracting from real issues like man-made climate change and the overfishing of the world's oceans," said a climate scientist from NASA. One particularly irate professor overturned his plate of sweet potato fries and said, "You told me we were here to discuss my tenure at the University. You reek of booze and you're not wearing a shirt. I should call the cops."
When confronted with so many strong and defensive reactions from the scientific elite of the west coast there is only one thought a rational mind can have: "What are they hiding?"
I had to dig deeper and go outside the bounds of the oppressive scientific orthodoxy. I was on a mission. This time I sought out the open minded and the brave few who weren't afraid to ask the dangerous questions and think original thoughts. I met a man named Ronald who lived somewhere near Gower and owned a pigeon he swore was a parrot. I met a ton of Ron Paul supporters. I met Dr. Dragoon who lived in the abandoned zoo at Griffith Park and was conducting experiments on clouds using old wine bottles and stray dogs. I met a woman named Cecelia who danced at a club called "The Happy Crotch." We did not discuss the topic of the world ending or the Mayan calendar but we shared some special times so I wanted to mention her name in this article. Hey baby! :)
Finally after hundreds of interviews and a few heavenly days with Cecelia in Marina Del Ray, I came to a definitive mathematical conclusion on the probability of the Mayan calendar signaling the end of the world. It is extremely unlikely. I put the odds at 32%
Still as Americans and proud patriots we believe in bracing for the worst case scenario, which in this case would be Mayan ghost warriors beheading Marines while we watch from roof tops drinking mojitos waiting our turn.
If this is to be the end of earth does it have to be the end of me, you ask? The answer is no. Here are a few tips, rules and guidelines for dealing with the end of existence. Follow them and maybe, just maybe, the Apocalypse can end up being the best thing that ever happened to you.
Any expert will tell you that during disasters and near death experiences a person's number one enemy is loss of hope. The end of the world will be no different. Massive fireballs will be hurtling through your favorite Pinkberry. Tidal waves of house cat blood will smash through the Peet’s Coffee on the corner. The final half of the final season of Breaking Bad will not air as it will be preempted for coverage of the Washington Monument being attacked by Mayan devil birds. Also you will see loved ones, friends and neighbors destroyed on an epic and unparalleled scale (duh, it's the end of the world). In the face of this Hieronymus Boschian horror show it would be easy to just sit down and say, "What's it matter? It's the end of the world... My whole neighborhood looks like a Megadeath album cover." DON'T! Instead say the opposite of the negative thought. IE: "It does matter. Even though it's the end of the world. Attitude is Gratitude." Try calling an old high school friend and reconnecting. It's possible he won't answer because it's the end of the world. Well guess what? Call another old friend. Then seek out a project to take your mind off of the end of existence on earth. Maybe create a slam book. Or finally watch The Wire on DVD. The point is, if you go into a bummer zone it's not going to help anyone.
When the world is going to end the only real way to turn lemons into dehydrated space lemon flavored drink is to create an escape craft and begin civilization anew on a far away land. It's worked before. Noah did it when floods wiped out the sinful planet. He went to Turkey. So did the original Star Trek crew, kind of, when they shot Spock's body onto the new planet in I think the third Star Trek movie. But this approach will take at least a week of solid planning. First and foremost you will need to construct an escape craft capable of holding months of food, animals and a dozen lovers. I suggest referring to the cover of Boston's first self-titled album. I checked the specs on the craft the artist depicted and they're feasible. As inspiration keep Boston's 2nd album cover around to remind you what all the work is for.(picture of Boston's second album cover with ship landing) Realistically you won't be able to get all the animals of the world onto your craft in such a short amount of time. But do the best you can. A raccoon, a few dogs and a pillow case full of squirrels can get the ball rolling on whatever planet or asteroid you land. Also remember to get a bunch of SCUBA tanks, Cliff bars, a handgun and some parka vests. Basically what you'd bring on a trip to Yosemite only times a million.
If your escape craft goes bust you've got no choice but to make the best of it in a hellish End Times world. Experts have no idea how long the end of the world will take so you had better be ready to adapt. One thing is for sure: Marauding sex gangs will form. And these gangs won't just target women. Expect gangs of repressed Republican preachers, Congressmen and football players, who no longer have any reason to stay in the closet to be out there trying to cram a full homosexual life into 2 or 3 days. No one will be safe. Anyone who lived through the Dinkins years in NYC knows of what I speak. But the bottom line is you will have two choices: either F or be F'd. So put on some buttless chaps, a motorcycle helmet, grab a machete and make some friends! Some of these groups will probably wear clown masks. Others will be blood streaked and naked. Most will have spear guns and bears on leashes. All will be driven by fear, a loss of hope and boners. The quicker you fit in the less likely your chances of being cornered in an abandoned pool by a horny death mob while fireballs streak the sky :(.
Anyone in finance knows that a down market means one thing: bargains and future profits! If the Mayan Apocalypse is upon us we can expect world markets to plummet to zero and maybe be burned to the ground. Yes, that's horrifying. But you know what's not horrifying? Exxon at 1 dollar a share. GE for ten cents. Google for one penny. "What does it matter, the world is ending?" you may ask. Money, finance, art, politics will all be rendered meaningless. Yes. This is true. But Google for one penny? Don't overthink it. A bargain's a bargain. And if the world does end isn't it better to go while driving a Maybach with a Russian model on your lap?
There's a chance that you will try all of the above suggestions but still after a few days of terror and chaos the world will end anyway. In that case you have one duty and one duty only: chronicle the history of the human race for future civilizations or alien explorers. In a matter of hours you will have to decide what objects best characterize the story of mankind and put them in a rusted-out safe and bury them in the desert. Remember: Carbonite will not work because the world is ending and they will not have employees to check the servers and charge a monthly fee. So hard physical artifacts will be the way to go. Write up a list now so you won't be caught off-guard. Or you can use my list. I've chosen all of 38 Special's master tracks, Keith Hernandez's first baseman's mitt, a Big Mac (it will last 1000 years), a really sweet suede jacket with fringe hanging off the arms and the novel Raise the Titanic by Clive Custler. But the choice will be yours. Choose wisely my friend. For all of us.
Hopefully come January we'll all be saying, "That Mayan calendar end of the world thing was a bunch of hoo-ha." Or "Why did the President read Adam McKay's article from The Occasional live on the TV? That was crazy." And hopefully come January 1st we can all hug our children tight and whisper, "It missed us.... We're safe." Or if you don't have kids you can hug your neighbor's kids or some kids in a school yard and tell them, "Don't worry. The Mayan warrior ghosts aren't going to get us...Not yet anyway." But on the very slim 32% chance that something does go down at least you will have this article. And maybe what I’ve written will save your life. If this is the case and I come banging on your storm cellar door with a sex gang chasing me you had better open up!
This article was originally published in Issue #005 of The Occasional