Where I was when I first heard about the end of the world

Since all the cool kids (or at least some of them) are writing about the end of the world, I thought I’d write about where I first heard about this.

I’m such a notorious cheapskate, the Mayans had a folk song about me. I was at a library sale, scooping up cheap books, in the summer of 2007. You meet some interesting people at these places, and one of the more colorful is a guy named Jim.

Jim went to school about twice as long as I did, and I have a four-year degree. Jim claims to have about six. I’ve never had any need to look into that, but his stories about Mizzou have a certain credibility about them, so I’ve never had any real reason to doubt him, either. At various times in his life, he’s worked as a disc jockey, a model (that kind of model, he claims), and as a bookseller.

At one of these sales, Jim and I found ourselves at adjacent shelves. “Did you know the Mayan calendar ends in December 2012?” he asked, casually. “Some people think that’s when the world will end.” I’m not certain he really believed it, but he sure looked like he wanted me to think he did.

“Interesting,” I said. At the time, 2012 seemed a ways off. I vaguely remembered that the Mayan calendar ran out sometime kinda-sorta soon, but didn’t dwell on it.

Of course I heard about it from time to time this year, but I’m not sure I heard it from Jim. I understand his health isn’t what it used to be, these days, and I don’t know when I saw him last.

On Monday, a sign appeared on the fridge at work. “Fridge Cleanout: December 26. Anything left in the fridge after the end of the world will be thrown away,” it declared.

On Thursday, one of my coworkers was absent, but didn’t call in. Wild theories ensued. (Several of us have very active imaginations.) Two of the more level-headed ones came from me. Maybe she’s sick, took some medicine and overslept, I theorized. Or, maybe she thinks Friday will be the end of the world, so why bother? Then, on Monday, when the world is still here, she’ll apologize and come in. I liked my second theory better–it was more entertaining.

It turned out she was sick. So much for that.

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One thought on “Where I was when I first heard about the end of the world

  • December 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Vladimir Putin had it right. Anyone that doubts him should stick around for the end.
    “The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.”
    Richard Bach

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