Monday, June 11, 2007

Save me a seat for Doomsday

Never go to bed after watching something disturbing on TV (which is nearly everything.) Your dreams will suffer. It must be "End of the World" month on television. Earlier this week I watched a program about the psychic Edgar Cayce and his dire predictions of the earth's destruction (a magnetic pole shift that throws everything off kilter) and last night a special on the History Channel called, "Last Days on Earth," in which several catastrophic scenarios were explored, one as gruesome as the other. Either we get obliterated by an asteroid, or Yellowstone erupts sending fiery magma sky-high and resulting poisonous gas and ash go sweeping across the earth killing us almost immediately. Or we nuke each other. Or, as Al Gore gloomily predicts, our SUV emissions will melt the polar icecaps bringing the world to an end.

The question is posed: "If you knew the day, the hour, that the world should suffer a cataclysmic event--what would you do?" Some people answer that they would get real religious and pray, pray, pray. Others say they'd party it up, and some say they'd prepare for survival. I know which camp Robert would be in and we'd really be at odds when he's serving up martinis every day while I'm busy building the underground shelter and stocking it with canned beans and freeze-dried Pepperidge Farm cake.

In my dream soot-faced survivors appear numb and lethargic. I try to snap them to attention, to get moving, gather up supplies. No one budges. Everyone is mute and senseless and looking on the verge of turning criminal. God! Do I always have to do everything myself! I find two men lying in the grass and I proposition them with this: "Look, if you men build us houses and start farming, we women will feed you and take care of you."

My dream ends there. I suddenly wake up aware that I have more insight into the beginnings of civilization than the end of it. It starts with a woman persuading a man to help her make, move, or fetch something.

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