When I was a teenager I put much store in predictions. Particularly predictions about the end of the world. And that kind of stayed with me throughout my twenties. I’m not talking about grizzled old men pacing the streets in sandwich boards proclaiming that “The End Is Nigh”. I’m talking Nostradamus. I’m talking that weird Bible Code shit a decade or so ago where some enterprising Jewish people entered every syllable and character of the Old Testament into a computer and basically turned it into a giant word search.
I sucked all that up. I was never sure whether I really believed it but I kind of fed on it in the same way that teenagers feed on horror movies. That strange pleasure you get from being temporarily scared (and then you go back to looking through a top shelf magazine and everything is OK again. Er. When you’re a teenage boy, that is.)
I can’t remember now whether Nostradamus attributed any specific dates to his predictions but I’m aware that Prince put much store by the year 1999. Well the party might be over (oops) for Prince but we’re still here, aren’t we?
As for the Bible Code... well, I’m pretty sure it was debunked on television. I seem to remember some “expert” stating that if you entered every character from War And Peace into a computer and applied the same set of algorithms you would also find linked words and phrases that would be “highly suggestive” and “open to interpretation”.
But one date that the Bible Code came up with for the end of the world stuck in my mind. 2012. To be fair I think it came up with several possible End Of The World dates. 2006 was one I’m sure. These guys were plainly hedging their bets. I don’t know why they just didn’t foretell that the world would end sometime between now and, well, the end of the world. That, at least, would have been loosely accurate.
So. 2012. It’s a date my logical mind has pooh-poohed since I hit my sane and discerning thirties and forties. The worst thing that is going to happen in 2012 is us, the UK, hosting the Olympics and undoubtedly ballsing it all up.
But then all this shit kicks off in the Middle East and my illogical brain suddenly hauls out 2012 and mutters, “What if, dude, what if? What if it’s true?” (Yes, my illogical brain talks like Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted).
It doesn’t keep me awake at night but I’m really annoyed with myself that there is a small rogue element of my psyche that still gets sucked into this “End Days” crap. It’s nonsense. It really is. End of the world? There’ll be wars. There’ll be death. There’ll be destruction. Somewhere, somehow in any given year. It’s a lottery and one we’ll all lose at some point in our development as a species. But the end of the world?
But I might look on eBay for an Anderson shelter just in case. If nothing else I can hide there while the Olympics is on and miss the entire debacle. Win-win, right?