By Bishop, Special Excentric Eschatologist (on his last assignment)
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.
— Sam Goldwyn
For thousands of years, psychics, gurus, Cassandra’s, mystics, sorcerers, not forgetting all manner of hacks and scoundrels have been predicting that as lightning follows thunder, the end of the world was nigh. One of the little-known yet more eloquent prophets who sang that scary song was Montanus in 156 AD.
Counting the days to Armageddon, he announced one day that he was the earthly incarnation of the Holy Spirit so he knew for sure that the New Jerusalem soon would arrive from the heavens and destroy Phrygia where he lived. Wherever that was, whatever it is called today it is still there.
Down through the centuries, similar predictions have become commonplaceeven in Sedona. Whatever their mode of transmogrification Montanus’s descendants have found their way into our little desert town. Like coyotes, one hears the plaintive yelps of certain realltors in the night: Unless a bridge is built at Red Rock Crossing, havoc and death and destruction on our highways is inevitable unless Chip Davis experiences an epiphany and supports a bridge.
And it isn’t just in Sedona where doomsayers predict the approaching darknessunless they get their way. Despite a forecasting record even worse than our latest Defense Secretary’s, that dreary siren song is being song from Portland Maine to Paradise, California.
Tune on the car radio around midnight while driving across the Mohave Desert and you can the clock ticking, the countdown to THE END. What you hear is that we’re soon to be doomed because the dollar is in the dumps and the Chinese are after the same oil that the U.S. imports from Canada. You will hear that providing health care to all Americans is socialism, and if that happens, no one will have health insurance and the hospitals will shut down. And that’s just for openers.
Eskimos complain that retreating sea ice imperils their seal hunts and island dwellers in the South Seas hear they’ll be soon swamped by rising seas, swelled by melt water from disintegrating Arctic ice sheets and shrinking glaciers.
And now the nervous nellies are whining that one third of all Americans live in counties that don’t meet air pollution standards and thousands of people are dieing prematurely and that Haves are gaining ground over the Have-nots. Soon the greatest volcano ever to explode its fury will spout soot from the geysers at Yellowstone, and cover our cities with soot so that the sky will never be seen again.
For coastal dwellers in California and on the East Coast, news from the future is not good either. Soon, very soon, an earthquake will sever California in two while the Eastern Seaboard will be flooded by a monstrous tidal wave created by a volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands.
Then we have the ballooning deficit bleaters. The only way to stop the liberal conservatives in power from deepening the nation’s record high twin deficits is to raise taxes but that will kick off a depression. Given the fact that the U.S. government spends just .0003 percent of a dollar maintaining public lands, with budget cuts these lands will be left to rot.
Beyond doubt gentle readers, news from the future is not encouraging. Soon, very soon, a Special Excentric Task Force has learned, the earth will be cleansed of sin and sinners and the fools in the saddle will no longer ride mankind to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1849. Of course, he was just a poet.
Wait a minute! Obviously, none of the predictions in the past have come true, so maybe they won’t this time around. But wait another minute! What if the countdown actually has begun?
Enter the late Edward Abbey who always thought we were aliens on earth given the way we treat it. Enjoy life he thundered while there is still time: “Ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the Griz. Climb mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe dip of that yet sweet and lucid air. Sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space.
“Keep your brain in your head, and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound men with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: YOU WILL OUTLIVE THE BASTARDS.”
Were he alive today, he would have added the doomsayers, too.
Now their bags are packed. They’re ready to go but to where?