As yet another doomsday deadline was creeping toward us we had precious little
time to pause and reflect on our own short lives much less the relatively brief history of
For hundreds of thousands of years and as many Christmases past, homo sapiens
have bandied about DNA in a frantic attempt to stick around for a little while longer on
this pale blue rock, and for what? To be cut short by a rogue planet that’s been kicking it
behind the sun this whole time? Not a very good ending.
And yet there’s something romantic about our impending planetary annihilation.
For one thing, there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. Planet Xmas has been
keeping tabs on Earth, much like the fat man and his list, and will soon be on its merry
way with a sackful of death to throw down our chimneys. The only person that could
have saved us is good ol’ St. Nikola Tesla, and he’s dead. So now we just have to eat it.
Why is that romantic? Because endings remind us of beginnings.
Approximately 4.6 billion years ago the earth was formed in much the same
fiery cataclysm that it is destined to end. In the period known as the Hadean, so named
for its Hades-like conditions, the newly formed earth was forced to compete with other
planetary bodies for its orbit, and in Darwinian triumph cleared away all its competitors
the same way all young brutes do: by ramming into them.
I imagine a young Nibiru, the hypothetical Sumerian death planet, fleeing the path
of a hungry earth, taking refuge behind Mother Sol and plotting revenge 4.6 billion years
later to avenge his dead brothers. So yes, it’s romantic and as thrillingly absurd as any
For instance, the earliest end-time prognostication according to a bit trivia
found in the infallible “Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts”, was found on an Assyrian
tablet believed to be from 2800 B.C., which attributes the apocalypse to “bribery and corruption.”
I know, right? Bribery sucks. Especially when it doesn’t work. In a fit of giving,
I once offered a homeless man thirty-seven cents to leave me alone, but he really needed
thirty-eight cents to buy a pack of cigarettes. That was the worst day of my life.
If given the choice between the end of everything ever and ever having to count
change on a sidewalk again, I choose the former.
So what if upon impact with another planet our atmosphere ignites and incinerates
literally every surface dwelling organism we’ve come to know and love, turning the
Earth’s crust into a big, gooey morsel of molten magma? If you could see the cosmic
headstone for Earth it would read: 4.6 billion B.C.– 2012 A.D. Think of all the cool stuff
that happened between then and now: dinosaurs, sharks, robots, men riding dinosaurs,
robots riding sharks, Firefly, gangnam style.
I think we all lived the hell out of that dash.
Then again, I never liked Firefly that much.
Jesse Riggs is a rogue librarian located somewhere in Huntington, WV, although experts conclude that this is unreliable data.