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Opinion - Opinion
The end of the world, scheduled Dec. 21Tell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Jill Pertler

Itís been in the news, on the History channel and even the Today show Ė so thereís got to be a hint of truth to the story. The end is near.

Weíve been informed the Maya calendar ends this year Ė on Dec. 21. Since the Maya calendar does not go beyond the fourth Friday in December, some experts believe neither will we. The day of reckoning is predicted to occur right before Christmas. If that isnít a good reason to peek at your presents, Iím not sure what is.

The world ending generates numerous repercussions, which Iím sure youíve already pondered. Missing out on Christmas presents and New Yearís champagne might be the least of our worries. Or good fortunes.

Okay, so the world will cease to exist, but letís attempt to perceive the glass as half full, shall we? (The sky may be falling, but why not at least try to put on a happy face? Maybe order a pizza or something.)

I realize destruction and mayhem might ensue, but if the world ends in two weeks, I will no longer have to fret about gaining a few extra pounds over the holidays. I can eat all the Twinkies I want Ė if only I could find them at the store. I wonít have to be concerned with the current fashion trends or if boat shoes for men are coming back into style (although according to my husband, they never left).

I wonít have to agonize over whether I should phase out my Facebook account to focus on Twitter. Fiscal cliffs will be the least of our worries and weíll never know how the whole Star Wars saga would have played out now that Disney owns the franchise.

We should be used to a little destruction and mayhem; they happen all the time Ė in ordinary places like Main Street and Sesame Street. Consider the Elmo debacle. If the world ends, Elmo wonít have to worry about getting kicked off the block heís called home for 20-plus years. Sesame Street will be no more.

Speaking of guys in red fur coats, Santa wonít need to spend an entire night delivering all those presents we donít really need to buy (end of the world or not). We wonít have to watch the news to see if William and Kate become parents to a future king or queen Ė or wonder if Kate ever has a craving for Twinkies.

Oh sure, weíll have seen the last of sunrises and sunsets, but we wonít have to set the alarm for oh dark thirty or be concerned with silly concepts like bedtimes, making the team, saving for retirement, helping put the kids through college or whether Hugh Hefner will ever tie the knot. I wonít have to muddle my way through eighth grade math homework ever again. Exclamation point.

Endings are hard. I get that. Iíve always had difficulty with transitions myself. But endings are merely the start to new beginnings. (Think of that little red Elmo!) Consider Rhea Perlman and Danny Devito. They recently broke up after 30 years of marriage. Al and Tipper Gore after 40. (I blame that one on global warming.) Kim Kardashian lasted 72 very long days before filing her papers. If these ordinary celebrities can pick themselves up and start over again maybe the whole end of the world thing isnít so bad after all.

Besides, the expert doomsday advocates obviously donít have access to Wikipedia. If they did, theyíd note their claims expose a slight misinterpretation of the Maya calendar. This is understandable (to me at least) because numbers in general put me in a tizzy and the Maya calendar is complicated and full of them.

The Maya people measure time using varying cycles or counts. As best I understand it, Dec. 21 of this year is the end of a measure called a long count that began over 5,000 years ago. According to our buddies at Wiki, the Maya calendar isnít ending on Dec. 21. Instead, another long count begins Ė this one slated to end in the year 4772. By then, I donít believe any of us (except for Santa, Elmo and Hugh Hefner) will be around to worry about whether the world is ending then Ė or not.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author. Email her at pertmn@qwest.net.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 12/10/2012
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