The first time I survived the end of the world, I had just turned 11. It was 1997 and I remember a giant ball of light that sat in the sky, the news men calling it the Hale-Bopp comet. They also spoke of some Californians who wore Nikes and drank Phenobarbital mixed with vodka pineapple, hoping death would help them catch the last UFO off earth, just before it was to be recycled into oblivion.
Then came Anthrax, Avian Flu, the nineties, and 9/11, all of which brought their own brand of biblical sized speculation. By the time Y2K happened, I had perfected my adolescent “I don’t care” shrug. Gradually, my fear slid to solid apathy. Until, in 2011, I met the 2012 Prophet.He blindsided me over toast in a random hostel. The conversation started easy enough, the usual, “where are you going? Where are you from? Why are you here?” montage that is all too redundant on the road. Then it came.
“I’m here to prepare for the end of the world, December 21, 2012.” He said, straight-faced no less.
It was both terrifying and refreshing to meet someone who was willing to believe in the end so strongly that he was willing to change his life.
“What if it doesn’t go down?” I asked, trying to hide my skepticism.
“Well, then I guess I learned a lot of cool stuff for nothing.” He said with a smile that was somewhere between creepy and funny. His “cool stuff” list included making swords and learning to fly helicopters.
That morning, as our cramped car pulled out of the hostel parking lot, I heard a shout. The Prophet in my review mirror, chasing our car down, slightly out of breath, “One more thing! Stay away from Yellowstone!” Ah, yes the super volcano.
Further down the road, with a smile, I realized the true impact of what The Prophet said. Should the world end, I’ll be gnashing my teeth amongst chaos and he’ll be flying a helicopter, waving his home-made Conan sword and laughing.