Watching a science channel program about the people who think “the end is near”, including the Aztec 2012 doomsdayers, sun flare watchers, robot “terminator” decriers, the ones ducking meteorites, volcanos, terrorists, space storms, black holes…and it got me thinking about “The Road”, which I read last week. I thought it was pretty bad. Seriously, if you want to read a book about the end of the world, try The Promise. It’s better, honest. And from there, I got to thinking about all the businesses that cater to the doomsday crew.
There is a whole economy dependent on doomsday believers. From the fairly cheap insurance you can buy to make sure people take care of your pets when you have been raptured, to the billionaire bunkers built by the terra vivo nuts. From what I see, after a natural catastrophe the billionaires will have their private bunkers (you have to see them), and there are also the “preppers” who have cornered the market on pessimism, and are just sure the US government is headed for a meltdown, which will mean descent into total anarchy where only the prepared will survive. Be prepared to live underground, shoot things, and live as a paranoid woodsman eating leaves, roots and berries, and half-cooked porcupines. So the choice seems to be either locked away in an underground five star hotel with billionaires and their staff (guess which one I’m most likely to be…) or live as a paranoid woodsman and give up the idea of hot showers and manicures. Frankly, I’d rather die. (Until then, I might as well cash in on this – read The Promise!)
Of course, if it’s the zombie apocalypse, it’s best to have special ammunition because face it, you never know when you’re going to have to fight off a herd* of zombies.
True story: the dentist who had her office next door to our office left in a hurry when she decided the end of the world was near. (This was in 2011, and 2012 was just around the corner). She sold up and bought a house in the middle of the countryside, far away from the city because that was where the anarchy would start. I did just the opposite, leaving the protection of my stone house with its multiple cellars and big woods for the little city of Mantes la Jolie, to live in an apartment. My whole reasoning was that I was tired of taking the car to go buy bread. Now I can walk to the bakery, and you have no idea how happy that makes me… Anyhow, the dentist left – and she didn’t tell her patients she was leaving! She thought the world was ending anyhow. So why bother. We got calls for years later from her patients trying to find out where their dentist had gone. (She’s gone crazy was my thought, but I didn’t say that.)
When I was little, we were right in the middle of the cold war with Russia. There were fire drills and even earthquake drills in our school – but there were also nuclear bomb drills. We would line up in the hallways, face to the wall, and fold our arms over our heads. We would stand there while our teachers told us what to expect. “There will be a blinding white light. Don’t look at it! Then there will come the first shock wave, followed shortly after by the second one”(which would either irradiate us or strip the flesh off our bones, depending on how close we were to the epicenter). Now, if that didn’t give you nightmares I don’t know what would. One kid in our class had a show-and-tell all about the nuclear shelter his dad was digging in their garden.
It took a while for me to get over all that trauma. But now I’m fine. I’m ready for the end of the world – be it volcano, sun flare, meteorite, robot or zombie attack. I will not run away, hide, or learn to cook porcupines. I will not stock up on canned food and water (although I do have a few bottles of wine lying around). I will resist anarchy, and I won’t break windows and run around in the streets waving my arms, knocking people down and screaming (which is what always happens on TV shows.) I will stay civilized, because that’s cool.
The Promise: A meteorite crashes to earth and a strange virus kills all the adults in the world. What would you do? Ryan and his brother travel south, stopping in towns on the way, searching for survivors, determined to save mankind. They’ve made a promise – never give up – never say die, and always help anyone they can find, even when those children seem to have reverted back to savages.
* Herds of zombies are also known as hordes, packs, mobs, swarms, plagues – and the worst – chainswarms! According to the Zombie wiki, the chainswarm is the very worst. Prepare to die.