Thursday, April 13, 2006
The Nigh Is Ending
As much as I like being Catholic, there aren't a lot of benefits. There are long laundry lists of things you aren't supposed to do that really put a crimp in my social schedule like gluttony, lust, sloth, vanity, murder, gay sex and eating meat on certain Fridays. Not only are the prohibitions kind of downer sometimes, but the things you are expected to do (be nice to people, don't beat up bums, don't call homeless people "bums", go to Mass, kiss the priest on the mouth, etc.) are almost as frustrating.
Sometimes I wish I were an evangelical fundamentalist. There's an awe-inspiring certainty amongst Born Agains that I really wish I had. Plus, the "evangelical" part means I'd never lack for something to say in the course of any conversation. Any short, short conversation.
As an example, fundamentalists are always going on and on about "the end times" or "the rapture" or whatever. Talking about it is supposed to make us pause, to reflect, to think about the state of our lives and jolt us into considering the infinite, the unexplained and somehow find room in the spaces of our intellects pushed open by uncertainty and anxiety for God. Their God. The one that wants us to send money to their TV shows, votes Republican and gets them all the best hookers. Being a big-wig among Born Agains is good times.
Instead of anxiety, however, talk of the end-times is just a big giant tease. How awesome would it be to know the end of the world was nigh? I'd stop paying my cable bill for starters, I'll tell you that right now. And my student loans? Forget about it. All those "no payments until 2007!" deals on carpet or big-screen plasma TVs or mattresses? I'd be all over those too. No bathing, no watching what you eat, no tipping in restaurants... paradise, as far as I can tell.
Every time an apocalypse is predicted, however, it always turns out to be just a bunch of crazies with purple shrouds on their faces waiting for a comet to whisk them away after they ate the poison applesauce. Dummies.
The bad news is that people have been living in the "end times" since there have been people. Every society in every epoch believes whole-heartedly in the paragon of narcissistic truth that they will be the ones to see the world end. Maybe it's something to do with the abstraction and projection of the vague inevitability of death or whatever, but it's a recurring theme throughout all of history.
So I ignore all the predictions. I focus less on the "end times" and more on the end of my time. That's why I don't smoke. I do indulge in the occasional methamphetamine bender, but I figure, hey, as long as I'm alive, I might as well live. For four days straight, no sleep. And maybe lose some weight. And some teeth.
This morning I had some hope for the first time. Maybe the end-times are actually upon us! And this was from science, not some nutcase with his American interpretation of some words translated from the Latin from the Greek from the Coptic from the Aramaic from the Hebrew.
According to scientists, one quarter of all species will be extinct by 2050 if global warming persists at its current pace. Isn't that awesome?!
No? Well, think about it this way: are "human beings" a species? Why yes. Yes we are. So there's no reason to think we might be one of the ones gone by 2050.
The premise is that global warming will affect the delicate ecological balance in many of the world's most biodiverse regions, making survival for the resident fauna and flora difficult, if not incompatible with new conditions.
The pictures they include in the article are of fuzzy little exotic creatures, the presumption being that the brunt of the change will be most felt by these strange little inedible buggers living in the middle of nowhere.
But consider: the regions mentioned include "the Caribbean, the Tropical Andes, Cape Floristic region of South Africa, Southwest Australia, the Atlantic forests of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina."
What one single species inhabits ALL of the regions mentioned?
So maybe we're all doomed. Which would be awesome.
But then right before I was about to not pay my cable bill, I read this other story about this girl who had a heart transplant but kept her natural heart. She had two hearts. And then when the transplant started to fail TEN YEARS LATER, they went back to the original, which seemed to work OK.
Science tells me I can look forward to a nice, stress-free end-of-days. Then science says they're making people with back-up hearts to ensure survival and medically-enhanced adaptability beyond the reach of Nature herself.
At this rate, we're NEVER going to be extinct.
Well, there's always hope with the Iranian nuclear program sparking a global nuclear holocaust, but with the fall of the Soviet Union, that's just a faded pipe dream now.
Science giveth, science taketh away.
I'll guess I'll see you all around. I have to go, my student loan payment is due.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.7
Tomorrow is Good Friday. This means my wife and school-age kid have the day off. Lots of stuff to do, including not-eating. Fasting is going to take up a lot of my day. Plus I'll probably be too weak to type.
So I'm taking the day off. That's right, no Bucket. Bitch at me if you want to, but I don't think I've missed a day since Christmas (and maybe not even then... I'd check, but oh so lazy, me) so you slave-drivers can eat it.
Just for good measure, I might miss Sunday too. It's Easter, the evening of which I plan to celebrate by watching The Sopranos and playing Call of Duty 2 online. Nothing reminds me of resurrection like people getting pretend killed, either in popular TV drama or in pixellated videogame form. Hallelujah. See ya Monday.