Tyrades! December 21, 2012: The End of the World?

Friday, November 13, 2009

If the date December 21, 2012 means anything special to you, it's either because (a) that's when your current "honey do" list reaches its half-way point or (b) you've been exposed to the "Mayan calendar" rumors.

Yes, the ancient Mayans were brilliant astronomers and left a giant stone calendar that abruptly ends on the night of December 21, 2012. This has led to rampant Internet rumors that the world will end on that night.

Why is everyone suddenly so concerned about Mayan calendars? I mean, how many Mayan calendars have you ever seen hanging on the wall in an automotive garage? Huh? Huh? (Granted, that's probably because four out of five grease monkeys surveyed have expressed a discomfort with mixing bikinis and human sacrifice.)

The new John Cusack disaster movie about 2012 will get even more people riled up. People are way too easily swayed by the things Hollywood churns out. ("Who cares about Iranian nuclear centrifuges? I want my congressman to do something about coyotes with rocket-powered roller skates!")

Yes, look for politicians to get involved in the hysteria. Surely President Obama's "oblivion czar" will go on "Face The Nation" to declare, "It's unconscionable that the world end solely because of free enterprise. We need a public option for ending the world."

Brace yourself for a new onslaught of New Age claptrap, as with Y2K, 1982's "Jupiter Effect" end-of-the-world scenario, or 1987's fizzled "Harmonic Convergence." We'll see one of those sudden outbreaks of "spirituality." ("I'm a very spiritual person. Oh, I think doctrine and martyrdom and sacrifice are icky, but I can chant and wear T-shirts like a son of a gun!") Or maybe the recession will shield us. It's hard to talk about all the Age of Aquarius "moon is in the seventh house" stuff when the seventh house has just sold at a foreclosure auction.

I wish we could've remained blissfully ignorant of any impending catastrophe. This knowledge will have a terrible effect on families. No, not because it terrorizes the children but because the kids will spend the next three years asking, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Johnny's lookin' at me! Are we there yet?"

There are a couple of major problems with the whole 2012 hysteria thing. First, the so-called "long calendar" is just one of thousands of Mayan calendars, and the only one that places any special importance on the date December 21, 2012. Some Mayan calendars extend for thousands of years past that date and (rather than conjuring speculation about solar flares or alien invasions) are taken up with mundane things such as eclipses, equinoxes, reminders to pick up the loincloth at the dry cleaners and set the DVR for "Gossip Girl," etc.

Second, if something does happen on December 21, there is no consensus that it has to be the destruction of civilization. The optimists think there may merely be a new era of transformation and rejuvenation in the cosmos. Perhaps, but look for the magnitude of the changes to be overhyped.

Most likely, you'll wake up on December 22, 2012 to find a brave new world in which salad forks suddenly belong to the right of the plate, Macy's advertises after-Labor Day white sales, and removal of mattress tags is mandatory. And dare I say it, Tyrades! begins to make sense.

Note: Danny Tyree welcomes e-mail at tyreetyrades@aol.com.