Here it is May and I’m in Indianapolis. The locals are looking forward to the big race, the Indy 500, with delightful anticipation. I attended the experience long ago. What I recall most was 300,000 fans drinking with reckless abandon, and crashing into each other as they exited the track. Fisticuffs abounded, and I must admit a bunch of uncoordinated, inebriated dudes duking it out is pretty entertaining. The event must hold some kind of record for most drunks in the same location. Here’s the kicker: children under 12 are admitted free! What a deal! Lots of heavy drinking around kids—sort of like Thanksgiving. Reporters covering the race thought the world was ending this year because it looked like their poster girl, Danica Patrick, would not qualify. According to the scribes she is the only person holding the Indy racing series together. To me she comes off like a petulant brat always bitching and moaning about other drivers, her teammates, and even her own crew. But she eventually made the grid. Ho-hum… |
The Saturday before race weekend, May 22, was my late father’s birthday. He had a long, rewarding, productive life, but I still visualize him as a 30-year-old. I remember playing in the front yard with Ray, who we called Zip, as Dad was whistling merrily and raking leaves on a crisp, golden, autumn afternoon.
Zip informed me with a superior, nose-in-the-air countenance that his father was 53-years-old. Kid-rules in our neighborhood mandated the older your father the better; sort of a “my dad can beat up your dad” kind of schtick. Bragging rights were at stake. Zip added, “Your dad is only 29.”
“No sir!” I protested. “My dad is 30!”
“He is not!”
I turned to the sound of rustling leaves. “Hey, Dad, you’re 30 aren’t you?”
Clearly amused by our bickering he quietly said, “Yes,” without missing a stroke. The whistling resumed.
“See!” I said triumphantly. Well, it wasn’t much of a victory, but small ones count too, right? Sadly, it turned out to be a major victory. Zip’s father hanged himself a year later.
The real reason I brought up May 22, 2011 is because some West Coast bible-thumper named Harold Camping claimed the world would end the day before. Well, maybe not completely end, but Camping declared it was the day of the “rapture”, an event misguided religious prognosticators profess is foretold in REVELATION, the last chapter of the Christian New Testament. Know what? I read the chapter and didn’t get that conclusion out of it. What I understood was the author advised the Jews to hang-in-there and the oppressive Romans would get their comeuppance. That and nothing more.
I must admit I was tempted to take all the money I could scrape up, fly to Las Vegas, and bet it all on 21-Black…
Anyway, May 21 came and went without incident, but the so-called prophet quickly recovered. Camping said he missed by five months; that his calculations were slightly off. The new day is October 21, 2011. Hmmm…I may still go to Vegas. Actually, I think he got May 21 right! But it wasn’t people who got caught up in the rapture. See what happened is all of my wife’s Tupperware lids are gone! And you can’t get replacements!
However, on the following day, I did take time to remember Dad, and wished I could have joined my brothers who met for lunch in LaJolla, CA. In my solitude, I reflected that the years proceeding from that day playing in the yard with Zip passed quickly—too quickly. The beat goes on. Days continue to rush by as I bask in the glow of modest achievement and unrealized potential. Life just happened while I was making other plans. It’s ironic and the joke is on me, but I'll bet I'm not the only one.
Back to the end of the world: remember they Y2K scare? Most people, media included, got the so-called apocalyptic year wrong anyway; that is, the twenty-first century began January 1, 2001, not 2000. On the other hand, it gave the doomsayers two chances to get it right. Instead they got it wrong—twice!
Okay, so we have two more chances for the "end-of-days": Rev. Camping’s “real” day of October 21, and December 21, 2012. Hot damn! I mention the second date because that’s when the Mayan calendar is supposed to run out of time, a supposition that has been posted front-and-center by the print and electronic media. Come on, folks, how does a calendar just stop? I mean, our Gregorian calendar just keeps on rolling year after year until infinity.
It turns out that the Mayans had a system of three calendars the most significant of which (for this writing) is the LONG COUNT. The current LONG COUNT calendar began August 11, 3114 BC (or BCE for you anti-Christian, politically correct weasels) and ends December 21, 2012. It seems to me if there was a LONG COUNT calendar preceding the present one (after all there was life before 3114 BC according to fossil remains), another will follow whether or not any Mayans are available to maintain and record it. Where am I wrong in that assumption?
The present day advocates for the Mayans claim they were a scientific and virtuous people, yet history records that their behavior was driven by ignorance and superstition.
Bottom line: It beats the hell out of me why we should pay any attention to a bunch of people who dressed like Tarzan, offered blood sacrifices to agricultural gods, skinned people alive, and played basketball with human skulls.
Copyright 2011 by Gene Myers.
Author of AFTER HOURS: ADVENTURES OF AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESSMAN (2009) by Strategic Publishing Group, New York, NY. Now available in Kindle and Nook.
Author of SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE (2010) by PublishAmerica, Fredericksburg, MD. Also available in e-Book formats.
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Indy 500, father's birthday, Harold Camp[ing, end of the world, Y2K, Mayan calendar,