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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Apocalypse Not

Sunday night I was looking for something to watch on TV. It's amazing how I can have hundreds of channels and yet nothing is on, but that's another story. Anyway, the only thing that sort of caught my interest was Countdown to the Apocalypse on H2. That's an offshoot of the History Channel for those who don't know.

I'm not really much for these end of the world shows, but I thought this one might be a little different. They were going to look at the Four Horsemen and that intrigued me.

I don't think I lasted ten minutes.

The first thing that annoyed me was all the fear mongering. I expected some of it because it was an apocalypse show, but this was more intense than usual. Even the Nostradamus shows were sunnier than this one and I didn't think that was possible.

Another turn off for me was the fire and brimstone preacher they showed. I'll leave this right here.

But what had me rolling my eyes and flipping back to reruns on MLB Network (Major League Baseball) was the so-called "preppers." These would be the people who are actively preparing for the imminent apocalypse.

Maybe they're the smart ones and the rest of us will be wishing we'd done the things they did, but I can't help but remember the Y2K preppers. These people were so positive that civilization would crumble as we headed into the year 2000 and the computers ran into date issues. I rolled my eyes at this one, too. Not just the people stockpiling supplies for the Y2K Armageddon, but also the television stations perpetuating fear.

And we all woke up on January 1, 2000, and guess what? No Y2K apocalypse.

I have the same kind of feeling about this Countdown to Apocalypse thing as I did for Y2K-much ado about nothing. If these people are prepping for the Mayan calendar ending, I'm pretty sure we're all going to wake up on Dec 22 and find not much has changed. If they're prepping from some more nebulous date, well, what a waste of their time and talents.

The worst thing, though, is what they're doing to their children. Not just the fear and paranoia they're teaching them, but costing these kids a chance to pursue their dreams. How do you become a star ballerina or the next great quarterback or a scientific genius if you're spending your time learning to survive the apocalypse?

Generation after generation has thought their time was the end times and guess what? We're still here! Things are still normal.

Sometimes I think people just need something to fear. The end of the cold war took away the communists and it's been relatively quiet on the terrorist front, so clearly we have to create something. The Mayans or the Book of Revelations or Nostradamus are merely handy. Personally, I'd recommend reading a classic Stephen King novel. A few hours of adrenaline-charged reading and then get back to real life.