You can only cry ‘end of the world’ and be wrong so often

By Jason Offutt

The good news is, if you’re reading this, you’re still alive. The end of the Mayan long-count calendar didn’t signal the end of the world. For me, however, it’s still Dec. 20, and I’m waiting for something to happen.
As a lifetime nerd, I’ve looked forward to Dec. 21, 2012 since I was at least 10 years old. Hey, I remember thinking. I’ll be alive for the end of the world. I thought that was pretty cool because when you’re 10, total global annihilation seems pretty far away, even when the world has an expiration date.
Which brings us to a Tuesday, three days before the Mayan apocalypse. I noticed the expiration date on our cottage cheese was Dec. 21, 2012.
Coincidence? Or was the house brand cottage cheese sitting in my refrigerator trying to tell me something? Would it actually go bad on Dec. 21, or would it still be fresh on Dec. 22 if there was actually going to be a Dec. 22?
I’m still annoyed by the end-of-the-world threat for the year 2000 when numbers were supposed to make planes fall from the sky and auto-flush toilets would eat us when we’re at our most vulnerable. I don’t trust numbers at all.
But this apocalypse, I suspected, had to do with food. It’s not the first time food from the grocery store has tried to tell me something.
The first sign I recognized was on a couple of pounds of hamburger. Before I freeze any type of meat, I section it into portion sizes so I don’t have to thaw a 10-pound something or other when I’m only going to use a pound of it.
As I started to rip open the plastic package, I noticed the price. The meat cost $6.66. Seriously? Six dollars and 66 cents? Six-six-six? Did I just buy a package of devilburger?
Yikes. It’s still in my freezer. Maybe I should set some out for tonight.
I’ve lived through dozens of end-of-the-world warnings, from Jim Jones, founder of the People’s Temple, who had visions of a nuclear Armageddon, to Pastor Harold Camping who, when his May 21 Rapture prediction didn’t come true, moved it to Oct. 21. Still didn’t happen; or if it did, nobody I know noticed. Hmm. Maybe I should re-evaluate my list of friends.
As for this doomsday, even modern-day Mayans (yes, they’re still around) don’t buy the end-of-the-world scenario. I guess they haven’t looked in my fridge.
So, we’ll just have to wait for the next one. Don’t worry, it’s coming.
Dr. F. Kenton Beshore, president and founder of the World Bible Society, predicted the Second Coming will be here between 2018 and 2028.
So I guess that’s when Jesus is going to show up. I’ll make sure I don’t serve him any of that $6.66 hamburger.
The bad news? As I typed these words I realized it was already 4 a.m. Dec. 21 in Southeast Asia, and no one from Southeast Asia has called me for at least four hours. We may be in trouble, folks.

Jason Offutt’s column has been in continuous publication since 1998 appearing in newspapers and magazines across the United States. Follow Jason on Twitter @TheJasonOffutt.

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