Homer Simpson, doomsayer

A favorite activity of humans since the dawn of consciousness has been predicting the End Times. Everyone wants to believe that their lives are more significant, their iteration of the world relatively more important than the other several millions of years and billions of lives that have passed by before. If your life happens to coincide with the end of the world, you are then part of the remarkable final generation of humans.

This morning while I was reading my horoscope at my local Caribou coffee shop, I overheard the employees talking about the end of the world. It’s either coming this Saturday if you’re to believe Harold Camping’s extremely obfuscated set mathematics* based on the Bible or perhaps December 21 of 2012 if you want to believe Hollywood (the Mayans have since spoken out to contradict the idea that their calendar predicts a doomsday in 2012).

I was talking with a friend last summer about the end of the world. We agreed that it would be a bummer if everyone knew that the world was about to end, because then everyone would quit their jobs and take off on world-tours (but then not be able to eat at any restaurants, sleep in any hostels, or fill up on gas in any stations). Basically, it would be anarchy. So we stipulated that we would be the only ones to know the world was about to end (and could maybe tell a few friends and family members). He thought he would buy a motorcycle and bike around the world, and I decided I would spend the rest of my time lying on a beach drinking margaritas, so long as all the most important people in my life came along.

If you knew that you had exactly two years left, how would you spend them?

*Excerpted from the San Francisco Chronicle:

By Camping’s understanding, the Bible was dictated by God and every word and number carries a spiritual significance. He noticed that particular numbers appeared in the Bible at the same time particular themes are discussed.

The number 5, Camping concluded, equals “atonement.” Ten is “completeness.” Seventeen means “heaven.” Camping patiently explained how he reached his conclusion for May 21, 2011. “Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.,” he began. “Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that’s 1,978 years.”

Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days – the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year. Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500.
Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500. Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.
“Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story,” Camping said. “It’s the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you’re completely saved.
“I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that,” Camping said.