By Lucy Ahern
I’m going to be in Mexico City on the 21st of December 2012. For those of you who don’t know (bless your cotton socks), that’s when the apocalypse is happening. That’s right, kids – you’ve only got three months to build a shelter in your backyard and stockpile the SPC spaghetti.
My proximity to the apocalypse epicentre is freaking me out a bit. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but there is a part of me asking: “What happens if the crazies are right? What if the world does go all Apocalypto? And what if I’VE WASTED MY LIFE?” (Although seeing my friend Claire drunk and going at a piñata in a sombrero might make it worthwhile, who knows?)
Plus I’m going to be pretty pissed if Machu Picchu gets all exploded before I get to see it.
Basically, this entire doomsday drama is grounded in the Maya calendar, hence my geographical trepidation.
The Mayans were astronomy whizzes, and created a ‘Long Count’ calendar which measured time in five, 125 year cycles. Apparently our current cycle began in 3114 BC, meaning that it’s due to end (and the next one begin) on December 21.
This belief is based on a translation of hieroglyphs found on a Mexican monument, apparently saying on that day “there will occur blackness and the descent of the Bolon Yookte’ god to the red.”
So there are a fair few theories on the exact course of events that’ll take place on the 21st.
And while I’m still inclined to think this is going to end up like the Y2K bug (hoarders buying bulk UHT milk and canned cocktail frankfurts – my mother included), let’s give them a bit of column space anyway:
– The earth will align with the approximate centre of the Milky Way (clearly, the Mayans knew their stuff ). This has led to theories of alien invasion, and also allegations that the Mayans themselves were interplanetary visitors. – What I’m going to call the ‘Cusack effect’
– the earth will suffer disastrous environmental consequences. It will spontaneously crack open, Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue will crumble and fireballs will rain from the sky (and if the plot of 2012 is to be believed, these will miraculously miss your car, despite their relative sizes).
– It’s not going to happen! Some critics believe that the hieroglyphs were actually mistranslated, and others have found reference to dates far into the future
– some almost 8,000 years from now. But here comes my favourite: ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. I’m really hoping I survive just so I can go on a big adventure with Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and that guy from The Social Network. We’ll search for Twinkies, hang out in amusement parks and hopefully meet Bill Murray. My gun-toting, zombie-slaying fantasies aside, some people do actually believe the world as we know it will come to an end this December (and right before Christmas, just think of all that pudding wasted).
Four ‘believing’ families have recently been featured on a US (where else?) show called Livin’ for the Apocalypse, which chronicles their lead-up to the big day.
One family of nine has built an entire bunker complete with greenhouse, full size kitchen and well-stocked artillery. Plus all the bulk soup you can poke a firearm at.
There’s also a couple who, with their son, make a game out of putting on survival gear in their living room, complete with gasmasks.
Yep, these people exist.
But back to the real concerns.
The US Homeland Security Department recently delivered a public health announcement urging citizens to prepare for the zombie-pocalypse.
Yes, it may have been a tongue-in-cheek exercise to help Americans prepare for ‘real’ disasters (what is more real than the flesheating undead, Obama?), but come December they could be eating their words. Or brains.
I’m going to take this as the perfect excuse to celebrate on December 21 by getting really drunk with friends and listening to R.E.M.’s ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It’ on repeat. And I suggest you do the same*.
*In the event of a non-pocalypse, the writer takes no responsibility for hangovers or noise complaints incurred as a result of this article’s recommendations.