So we made it.
Dec. 21 has passed, and the world’s still here. Kind of a mess, to say the least, but nonetheless here.
I’m not at all surprised. The whole Mayan calendar thing was just another example of the runaway train that is the American media grabbing onto a subject and blowing it way, way out of proportion. Basically, it’s only because of misunderstanding and lack of information that anyone was even interested in the issue.
You see, the Mayans weren’t “wrong,” it’s just that their now infamous calendar differs from the Gregorian version we’re used to. I don’t pretend to fully comprehend how it worked, but I do know that rather than being based on the repeating cycle of a planet revolving around a star, the Mayan calendar was a linear projection and people who went end-of-the-world with it failed to take note of two crucial factors: It didn’t actually “end” on Dec. 21 (it actually continues on from there for who knows how long), but Dec. 21 was singled out as a point in time when some sort of cycle would end and a new one would begin.
Since no big change occurred last Friday, we’ll obviously never know what the Mayans were getting at. And of course, we can’t really ask them, because their civilization met the ultimate change several centuries ago.
But while everything didn’t go poof last week, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re in for clear sailing from here on out. On the contrary, there are plenty of people who are quick to cite myriad ways the world might meet its demise in 2013.
Some point to numerous potentially catastrophic events related to deep space, like great big asteroids, rogue planets having a close encounter with ours, giant
solar flares, and, well, you get the idea. And maybe someone in the space-doom camp will be right; if you really think about it, there are plenty of ways our puny little rock could be annihilated by what God has set in motion in space.
But then again, other people proclaim that the end will come via a manmade source, like the melting of the polar ice caps, the poisoning of everyone’s water supplies, or, of course, nuclear holocaust (not nucular – there’s no such word). And I guess all of that might be possible, which begs the question: which artificial calamity comes first? And will it be in 2013?
Now, I’m not making light of what lies ahead, because I can’t shake the feeling that we’re in for something big that won’t pretty – probably sooner than later. I don’t know what that is, and I have no date in mind for its manifestation, but I’m certainly not going to begin worrying about the laundry list of ways being presented that will bring about the end of world (either as we know it or literally).
Anyway, 2012 is about to be a memory and it’s time to move on to 2013. No more dates with three repeating numbers for another 88 years or so (you know, like 12-12-12), and no more references to the Mayans’ supposed prognostication of doomsday. Just another year with another set of problems – some that have carried over and some that will no doubt crop up along the way.
Personally, I plan to keep my eyes wide open and observe with amazement the blatant stupidity that will be touted as “solutions” to those problems, but I’ll probably also focus on some good old fashioned enjoyment along the way. I look forward to eating more terrific meals cooked by my wife, the self-proclaimed “one hit wonder” of the kitchen (she doesn’t think she does well trying to reproduce some of the creations she comes up with, but man, are those first shots delicious), and I’ll try to have some fun with my cool dogs Jamie and Gertie, my strange horse Sur, and friends who share life in a place I’m convinced occupies a spot on a rapidly decreasing list of places that are still worth living in.
By the way, I think we’re far enough into the century for everyone to quit saying “2-thousand” this and that when referring to a year. It’s easy: “Twenty-12” just ended, and we’re entering “Twenty-13.”
Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email: email@example.com.