End Zone

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. (1 Peter 4:7)

You can party down if you want to, but I’m going to hunker down in my dimly lit basement, with a gallon jug of distilled water, a box of granola bars, my portable one-minute Bible, a flashlight, and my half-dozen genuine silver dollars. I don’t care what you think. I’ve seen the warning signs. I’ve read the newspapers (well, their online versions anyway). I remember all those freaky sermons by that Nazarene pastor when I was a kid and saw the Thief in the Night movie as it flickered its ominous 16-millimeter threat in the darkened church sanctuary. I know that somewhere behind all the glitz and glamor lurks a diabolical illuminati, headed by the Antichrist himself, who are nudging the world toward a cataclysmic confrontation between the powers of good and evil. Very soon the beast will be out of the box and, except for those who have wisely made preparations, there won’t be a good cup of coffee to be had anywhere.

Like I say, you can party down if you want to, but I’m planning to make a private list of my major transgressions so I’m ready to repent quickly if I need to. (Compiling my minor trespasses would involve too much time and introspection so I simply lump them together under the heading “Venial Infractions” and call it good.) I’m going to have the list up to date and ready to go should the plug get pulled. I figure the best place to be if Jesus decides to crash all tomorrow’s parties is on my knees. I figure that if I beat him to the punch, he’ll have to take me out of sheer religious pressure.

You can party all night long if you want to, but I’m going to put my survival items near my head and lay there, staring at the ceiling while I listen to the firecrackers, sirens, and automatic gunfire all around me. I’m going to hope that the night passes quickly and that the sun rises on a new day without any lingering evidence of the almost end of all things, except for maybe a few beer cans here and there. I’m going to carefully rise from my bunker and creep up the stairs. I’m going to look with tentative relief at the brightening day and take note that things are pretty much the same as they were yesterday. I’m going to tune in the post-proto-apocalyptic parades with their tinny bands and obligatory confetti rain and secretly be glad that everything seems normal again.

Oh, I know that I should be disappointed that the whole thing didn’t evaporate in a wave of divine wrath, but I’ll add this shortcoming to next year’s “Venial Infractions” category. I’ll pack away my distilled water, the granola bars, my portable one-minute Bible, the flashlight, and my half-dozen genuine silver dollars. I’ll put them in the closet where I can grab them again if I need to. Because I know that some day I’ll really need them, that some day the lid on Pandora’s box is really going to get blown, that some day it’s all going to happen as advertised. Some day.

So you can party down if your want to. Go ahead and toss back a few, clink a few wine glasses, do some crackers and cheese balls, make a few resolutions. As for me, I’m going to stay clear-minded and self-controlled like I’m supposed to. I know it’s probably a waste of a good evening, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Not that I’ll enjoy myself; it just seems like the religious thing to do.

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