NEWS

Jason Offutt: Prepare for the 2012 armageddon … by ignoring it

Jason Offutt

The Dutch are nervous. Not by nature -- legalized drugs have made the Dutch less nervous -- but more paranoid and/or hungry than they used to be.

It’s the Mayans that are getting to them.

“Many Dutch prepare for 2012 apocalypse,” the newspaper headline read. Apparently, thousands of people in the Netherlands think the world will end in 2012, the final date on an ancient calendar written by the Mayans of Mesoamerica, which, if I remember my public school geography, is not as close to Amsterdam as, say, Germany, or maybe even the planet Mercury.

I’ve been aware of our civilization’s Dec. 21, 2012, expiration date since I was a kid in the 1970s watching reruns of “In Search Of” hosted by Leonard Nimoy.

“Cool,” I remember thinking as Nimoy announced that next episode they’d be searching for Bigfoot. “I’ll still be alive in 2012.”

See, you can learn something from TV. And the Bigfoot episode was awesome.

The Dutch are “taking precautions” for the apocalypse, according to the wire story, which means they’re hording life rafts, chocolate and Heineken. Oh, and if somebody’s really thinking, fireworks.

The ancient Mayans were advanced astronomers, mathematicians and architects who built pyramids and great cities in Central America thousands of years ago without the use of metal tools, the wheel or labor unions. They developed an accurate calendar that began with their creation of the world in 3113 B.C. and ends with our flaming death in 2012 A.D. (actually, the calendar only marks the end of one Mayan cycle. Another cycle starts on Dec. 22, 2012. I’m having a party that night, BYOB).

Then, even before the Spanish showed up and wrecked everything, the Mayan civilization just disappeared. Their cities lay empty, their pyramids waiting for looters and tourists.

Why should we pay attention to the Mayans? Their civilization collapsed. If you think they could really foretell the end of the world, don’t you think they’d have seen that coming?

So, if you’re worried about the apocalypse of 2012, think back to the apocalypse of 2000, otherwise known as Y2NothingHappened. Or, if you’re really nervous, check out “The world’s going to end” club, starring the Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, Jeffrey Lundgren’s followers, and The People’s Temple.

Oh, wait, you can’t, these doomsday followers are dead – and the world’s still here.

I think it was Leonard Nimoy who said, “people are stupid.” Or, maybe it was Einstein, or the president, or somebody.

Either way, I’m ready for 2012. With all the apocalypse insurance I plan to sell to the Dutch, maybe I’ll buy a new house.

Visit Maryville Daily Forum writer Jason Offutt’s Web site at www.jasonoffutt.com.

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to the Show-Me State’s Most Spirited Spots,” is available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.