THE END OF THE WORLD
May 22, 2011
The weather has been unruly this past week on the Island, our hometown set here in California on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. The seagulls flocked inland to lead a dockwalloper to start the week, followed by argumentative skies and gradually drying winds. Expect this means no wind blows good news to the embattled banks of the Mississippi as yet another round of storms dumps a load of rain on their troubles while tornados continue to tear up the Midwest.
Its all Bush's fault of course.
The Island has the distinction of being the home of Harold Camping, the televangalist (from Colorado) who caused a ruckus with his pronunciamento of the end of the world on May 21 at six pm. Over eighty million dollars of donations later, hundreds of billboards and nearly one hundred radio stations, Mr. Camping remains sight-unseen around here the day after not much changed. The doors of his offices down on Hegenberger in Oaktown remained closed as was his house here and related churches.
This is not the first time the 89-year old Camping has issued an End of the World statement, which caused ruckus all over, the last being in 1994. After that apocalypse fizzled, Camping claimed that it had all been a math error. Rest assured it will not be the last, for a number of self-appointed prophets are already at work on the Aztec calendar, claiming that the stars forecast dire events in 2012. Camping has led a Sunday service for many years at the Veterans Memorial Building on Central Avenue. This past Sunday was his last service, according to an employee of the institute located on Hegenberger.
Perhaps it might be good to live one's life as if each day was the last. . .
So you are sad that all your friends got to go to some cotton-candy heaven with diaphanous angels waving harps and chubby putee sweeping dust bunnies from the corners while you, you wretched, soiled bastard, must needs stay back here in Reality and deal with the sorry Economy the Deficit and Pee Tardy lunatics. No Rapture for you, guy; somebody's got to pay the bills, water the plants and feed the cat.
On the upside, you missed a golden opportunity to commit just about every golden delicious sin in the world on your last go-around. You had at least 73 hours to bathe in debauchery, for if we are all damned anyway, why not go out and murder that irritating relative, rob a bank, and roger a nun over a table while you are at it. Heck, since we are all out the door, no need to even use a condom!
So herewith we supply this week's headline photo of the Flames of Hell burning in celebration at one of the many Bay Area Rapture Parties.
Down at the Old Same Place Bar Padraic has been in stitches over the recent visit of QEII to the Old Sod. Not since George V had visited some 100 years ago, had anyone of the Royals stepped foot on Irish soil. In fact, the Queen was the first to do so on the free soil of the Republic.
"She said 'comhbhrón domhain'," Padraic sobbed. "She said, 'Uachtarán agus a chairde' to start. Not one of them has ever done so!"
Indeed all the world was agog over this historic event. That a British monarch would visit the Republic and then employ the gaelige was something. That she would express any sort of sympathy at all was a great beginning and perhaps an end to hard times.
Sometimes the end of days is a good thing. Sometimes Spring brings great wonders in its astounding births. The Chinese say every catastrophe brings renewal, brings opportunity for something better to take its place. Spring is the time of extraordinary effulgence.
They had a number of special drinks for sale at the OSPB, most of which generally involved sterno or carefully lit Demerara 151 proof rum, so the whole place had these little flames going off like it was the rooms of Hell or something. Suzie had been got up with plastic horns on her head and a cute outfit of orange and black with boots. Dawn thought it all very tacky, but it had been Padraic's idea. Everything orange was associated with Satan and hell in his mind anyway.
So there it was. The time passed and nobody got raptured, except for the lucky couples who left together and who probably experienced some kind of rapture that is more in character of the annual renewal of Spring than any religious thing. Almost certainly Religion had absolutely nothing to do with it. Religion tends to get in the way of such things, as it trends to do in most reasonable activities.
Outside a man wearing a black coat and white shirt stumbled down the street before laying down on the battered sod of someone's front lawn. It was Reverend Rectumrod, the Baptist minister of the First Baptist Storefront Hellfire Church and good friend of Mr. Camping, the man who had promulgated this whole End of Days thing.
The Reverend had gotten himself drunk off of whiskey from BevMo in Oaktown. He had sincerely believed in the End of Days, and was not entirely convinced it was all baloney still. But it was incontrovertible that he, Reverend Rectumrod had NOT been raptured to heaven as had been his due.
Since he had not been Raptured, and Rapture had come and gone, that meant he was damned, damned, damned. So he went and got himself damned drunk. Lord save and bless BevMo, for they succor the lost and the lonely, an holy charge, when the Word falls somewhat short of goal.
It did not help that Camping was nowhere to be found, which had to mean that his friend had been raptured and he, Rectumrod, had not.
The preacher looked up at the eternal, laughing stars and cried out, "My god my god, why hast thou forsaken me!"
Someone somewhere shouted, "Shut up and be quiet! We are trying to sleep here!"
The preacher was left bereft and forlorn as the pogonip crept in and his eyes closed.
Reverend Nyquist happened to be driving by and noticing the man there stepped out of his car, took him in and brought him back to the parsonage, for this is the sort of things Christians are supposed to do. The Reverend was put to sleep in the chair beside the fireplace and there he slept the sleep of babes the whole night through while Nyquist worked on a sermon that referenced the "good Samaritan". Seemed that it was about time for something like that, he thought. A little kindness couldn't hurt. Might bring about some good, in fact. Goodness is really what it was all about.
The night settled in with a comfortable wheeze of wind and the shadows flickered across the distressed wood lining the snug of the Old Same Place Bar while Suzie bent her pretty horned head towards her anthropology textbook to read about the extraordinary Bonobo and their jungle rites. Mating rituals, spirit quests, and the idea that deep in the night sorcery was burrowing from thousands of senders to thousands of unsuspecting recipients circled around her.
From far across the way, the long howl of the throughpassing train ululated across the magical waves of the estuary and the mysterious Spring wildflowers of the Buena Vista flats as the locomotive wended its way past the dark and shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off on its journey to parts unknown.
That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.
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