What To Do When The World Ends

As I sit thinking about all the things that I could possibly find to put on this paper that would leave the reader feeling like a better, happier person (if not a little enlightened), it occurres to me that there is but one subject that still has need of coverage; that is apocalypse. What? Apocalypse, you say? But seriously, Mister Bane, there is never, won’t never, and never can’t be anything of the sort! And why can’t there be? Many people have wasted their lives wondering the very same thing. A few have equally wasted their lives in attempt to prove that there will be exactly the terrifying, dramatic termination of all life that their opposition has tried to disprove. But they are all, as said, just wasting their time. And why? I’ll tell you straight, because there IS going to be an apocalypse, and you had better be ready for it!

There is something you should consider before we even discuss the topic of apocalypse; that is that there may in fact be no need to panic at all. Yes, I know, what with movies and television and video games and comic books and only the bricks know what all, you would think that there is every reason to panic. I mean, after all, don’t they all paint the most grizzly of end as could ever be imagined by the weightless lumps of gray matter that most people try to think with? Certainly, Mister H. G. Wells was not trying to paint a picture of paradise, nor was Simon Godfrey! The fact is that apocalypse is a very scary thing, but is it really as terrifying as the aforementioned weightless gray matters makes it out to be? The answer is no, it really isn’t. The Big Bang didn’t just drop us on this rock to rot without even giving us a few basic instincts for survival. Likewise, God didn’t spawn us in the midst of the warzone without first giving us a tool by which we might maintain our own miserable existence. And so have we been given the means by which we might survive our own impending doom, and so I say DON’T PANIC.

That said, also a very important subject of discussion is the means by which our destruction will inevitably overcome us. Many different wonderful theories have been imagined for us, and so many in fact that we need use our weightless gray matter hardly at all to come up with a suitable answer. Although there are endless options, I would like to propose three basic possibilities that seem to me most probable: first, the invasion of our third-rock-from-the-sun by an extraterrestrial, and by any means not welcome, alien invader (as imagined by the Great H. G. Wells himself); second, the overheating and/or meltdown of our measly enterprise by either our own blind greed, or the inevitable self-termination of our universe; third, the transformation of our most noble race into flesh-craving mutants, or stark-raving lunatics, or something of the similar, grizzly sort that will still inevitably lead to the extinction of the human race as we know it.

The first, and I think the least likely of the three—invasion—is perhaps one of the most deeply explored. I don’t know about you, but I myself have suffered through more horribly articulated alien invasion films than I care to remember, and have found myself on more than one weekend filling my head with thoughtless nonsense about beings who come to our little nothing-of-a-planet to steal our oh-so-valuable-resources. And for what? I tell you it is utter viper snot. But still, regardless of my personal opinion on the matter, I have decided that this possibility ranks as more probable than most others and I therefore think it is only fair to thoroughly explore it.

IF—I say if because of the mere improbability of it all—an alien race were to invade our little home-world, I think that the least likely place for them to arrive in would be Los Angeles, or Washington, or New York, or, well, any of the places that others think so likely. But Mister Bane, you say, have not all the great minds concluded that an invasion could only occur in one or more of the world’s largest and most important cities (I.E. any of the Sovereign United States cities, since they are undoubtedly the most important?) Well, the truth of it is, if you’re going to invade your neighbour’s home for the purpose of first beating him silly, then making rude comments to his wife about his mother-in-law, and finally making off with his brand new 60” plasma flat screen, you’re not going to waltz in through his front door and into his living room; no, you’re going to smile at him when he gets home from work, then wait till dark and go through the back door, shinny across his washer and dryer, grab a snack in the kitchen, maybe turn over the goldfish bowl and dump the petunias on the table, and then catch him when he isn’t looking. And why? Simply because it is the first and foremost nature of every living thing to be deceitful and malicious and run away from every fair fight that the Good Mother Nature can offer us. It is just the way it is, and I see no reason to think that an alien invasion should be any different. Firstly, they will send us a few kind messages, maybe just a couple random, blinking lights in the sky to say “here we are, here we aren’t, we don’t want to fight, we just want to get to know our good neighbours, now why not come out on the veranda for some milk and cookies?” and it is then that they will slip in through our back door, scuttle around all those oh-so-important-cities, snatch a few cows, carve a few crop circles, and then show up in a little backwater town like Morocco, or Didsbury, or Toronto, or Delta Junction (Delta Junction? Where on Earth is that??). But isn’t Delta Junction too cold for aliens this time of year, you say? Irrelevant! And while all that is happening we are quietly reading all the wrong books, watching all the wrong shows, and blaming all those missing cows and crop circles on *sneer* global warming. As if global warming is even possible! Yea, that’s rights, global warming didn’t even make it into the top ten, let alone the top three! Now, before I go getting off topic, let me get to the point: IF—I say if—aliens were to invade, it wouldn’t be at all like television depicts it. In fact, I daresay, it would catch us all by surprise, or “with our pants down” (as the saying goes), and we should be no better than we were before having wasted all those valuable hours watching television and reading useless books. IF—I say if—aliens invade our planet, I think the safest, and very likely the smartest thing to do would be to lock yourself in your attic with enough bread and cheese to last you until next year, because as everyone knows the world ends in 2012 anyhow!

Which brings me to the second least likely possibility number two: as I like to call it, the Sinister Deus Ex Machina, which is as much as to say, “the god-machine that will kill us all.”

There certainly have been far fewer depictions of the SDEM than there have been of alien invasions, but I think that it is far more likely because it strikes me as just the sort of thing the spiteful God that many of our ape-like fellow humans believe in would do—that is, create a universe with a Doom Clock. If you believe in a spiteful God, then why not? Why shouldn’t he like to create a sand castle solely for the purpose of smashing it before the waves can carry it away? I’ll tell you straight, the simple fact is that the universe very-well may be set to a Doom Clock, and if that is the case then there is little we can do to save ourselves. As they say, “hold on to your seat, Dorothy, cause it’s gonna be a wild ride!” And of course you might as well say good-bye to Kansas while you’re at it, and Michigan, and Washington, and California, and New York, and all of the other oh-so-great-places of the *ahem* important world. And by the same token you better go right ahead and turn to your family right now and say that you really think you should tell them you love them, but of course you can’t because it really isn’t true, and when it comes right down to it and the rabbit hole only holds you and a friend, you would more than gladly push them out because obviously if you’ve got to choose between your family and Elvis, well, of course, it’s going to be Elvis. And then, as the world burns and your dear family wonders why you chose Elvis over them, at least you will be deaf to the reckless mayhem and destruction happening without, because whoever could listen to that ‘70s garbage anyhow? (Sure, they all said they liked Elvis, but we who are the younger generation know the truth: it was all a prank played by the aliens before they kidnapped our ‘70s superhero to defend their own home-world from its impending doom.) The only way to really save yourself under such circumstances, I think, would be to find a high place, stick out your thumb, and pray to whatever God you believe in that along will come a Vogon destructor fleet and you may hitch a ride while your world burns behind you. And, at the same time you better hope that the God to which you find yourself praying is not the cruel, spiteful god that so many weightless-gray-matter-fools believe in, but a kind and loving god, because if he is spiteful you may find that the Vogons only just stopped in at Mars to pick up a Marsman, and that it was said-Marsman who took the last available seat on the entire destructor fleet, leaving you only light-years away from rescue and a continued existence in spite of the SDEM.

Finally we come to what I think is the most likely cause for apocalypse: the internal destruction of the human race, and, most likely, our entire world. Now Mister Bane, why do you think that is so likely, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because the irony of us eating each other in our haste to survive seems to me, if not the most probably, then the most improbably, and therefore the most likely. Ever since we climbed out of our caves and stopped beating each other over the head with sticks we have been trying to make a bigger, better stick with which to take up the old ritual, and our continued failure to do so has only led to more and more frustration which must ultimately climax in the removal of the aforementioned super-stick from the equation and the replacement of said-super-stick with the most destructive tools that that spiteful God thought to give us—our very own teeth. Why no one has thoroughly thought this through before I find quite astounding. It seems to me like there could be no better explanation for the coming apocalypse. After all, as they do say, “who needs spoons when you have fingers?” Which, I suppose, brings us right back around to the Doom Clock that that spiteful-God built right into the universe from the beginning, only instead of a clock he wisely thought to supply us with five reasons on each hand and a weightless lump of gray matter with which to direct them.

Of course, I have only yet just touched the surface of this terrible hypothesis. The truth of the matter is the ensuing degradation of our entire world-government and all its infrastructures, and in the wake of the collapse of all that we thought impervious, we are left standing in the street, “caught with our pants down,” and with zombies coming at us from every side. But, DON’T PANIC! Now Mister Bane! You say don’t panic even now? Why, yes I most certainly do! Have none of you ever seen a film in which the last survivors of the apocalypse banded together against the infection, taking up arms to kill again their un-dead friends? Why panic when we are a country of spiteful-God-fearing Americans with the right to bare our arms? Yes, that’s right; take a step out onto the veranda for a cold beer and a good, long sun tan. Those drooling, dead faces will stop bashing their hands against the door sooner or later, and when they do you will have your chance. You may either go out to meet them, swinging your SDEM-tools until the last bite, or you may choose the wiser option, and run for the hills, holding out your thumb in hopes that those Vogons are coming from the other way and have not stopped off at Mars before they pick you up. As for myself, you may be sure that on the off chance that I manage to move my weightless gray matter faster than you can move yours and I get the last seat on the destructor fleet, I will put my hand out the window and use my SDEM-tools to catch hold of yours as we flee our burning world, thereby annulling possibility two on the simple basis that if I can use my SDEM-tools in such a way that does not cause destruction then the spiteful-God simply could not have built a Doom Clock into the universe, and thereby I will also annul possibility three since, if the spiteful-God did not supply us with SDEM-tools, then we would never have been looking for a bigger, better stick, and we therefore would never have resorted to our teeth, and we therefore would still be sitting on our veranda on a hot, August afternoon sipping Squidberry juice through icestraws. And we would then be left only with possibility #1: alien invasion which, as I said, is least likely, if not totally improbable, and we therefore need neither worry about apocalypse, nor the spiteful-God’s Doom Clock. So on that note you may as well forget about a last, daring rescue on my part. I have no wish to be creating paradoxes.

There is one last thing I feel need be said on the subject of a zombie apocalypse. It is a simple set of rules that I feel are of the utmost importance to maintain survival in the event that you wake up one morning to find that your family is trying to eat you (I mean, after all, isn’t it survival that we are all aiming for? If it wasn’t, then why weren’t we content with starving to death in our caves, or beating each other over the head with sticks?) Here’s the wrap:

#1. Stay off the street! (Everyone knows that zombies can’t climb stairs. They will just trip.)

#2. Don’t leave your bathroom! (The last thing you want is another unsightly disaster in the face of chaos, especially one as could have been avoided with some careful planning.)

#3. Protect your thumbs! (If a zombie “catches you with your pants down” and happens to bite off your thumbs, how are you to then hitch a ride on the destructor fleet? And if I should happen to get the last seat, how am I to grab your hand as we fly away).

With these thoughts in mind, I feel (as you too should feel) that you are quite prepared for whatever the apocalypse should send your way. And with that there is little else to be said on the subject. If, however, you find that you still do not quite feel complete trust in the efforts of the thumb, the SDEM, the Vogon destructor fleet, and the sheer improbability of either the first or the second possibility happening to save your life, I would recommend that you check your local library for more material on the subject. Among the few titles that may still be of some help are “What About God?”The Good, the Bad, and the Inscrutable Impossibility of Survival” and, “The Last Thing in the Universe is Dust, the Last Thing in Heaven is You”. That way, even if you don’t survive, at least you will die in a state of misery and self-contempt that just may be of enough worth to find you a seat on that fabled a-train right into the afterdeath and whatever is beyond. And as you wiz by I would ask only that you call back, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”

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