There's a new "the end of the world will occur on this date" cult gaining attention in the media. May 21, 2011, is the date which is the only unique part about this doomsday group. I guess it's not all doom and gloom, though. According to the believers, it is clearly stated in the Bible that Jesus will return on May 21, and then five months later on October 21, the world will be destroyed. So it's great if you're a Christian, but there will be five months of total chaos after one billion believers disappear.
This latest rapture prediction takes me back to my tween years of the late 90's. There were several end-of-the-world scares going around at that time. Of course there was the Y2K hysteria. Being the most tech-savvy person in the household at the age of 12, it was up to me to make sure our house was Y2K ready. I was skeptical that the entire electrical grid of the United States would shut down because it thought the year was 1900 instead of 2000. I wasn't completely following the logic, but I guessed the computers would know that they hadn't been invented in 1900 and would shut down until about 2075 (or 1975 to the computers when the first PC was invented.) Anyway, my family was suckered into the greatest scam of all time and we bought some software and mom put some canned food away for the coming apocalypse. I wasn't too worried about this actually happening, but this wasn't the only scenario that might play out at the stroke of midnight, January 1, 2000.
I was more worried about the Rapture. Being a good little Christian I had read some of the Left Behind books and was aware of some of the differences in the "Revelations" theories. Either way, it had been 2000 years since Jesus was born (God pays attention to the Gregorian calendar, right?), and society had never been in worse shape. Take the Internet for instance. I was fairly new to "wasting seed," but had already ventured into the dark nether regions of the web where they kept the porn. Yeah, it took five minutes for a picture to load with our 28k dial-up, but it was worth the wait, let me tell you!
From that point on I had one mission in life: get laid (or at least get a hand job) before the Rapture. I was not very good at this though. As it turns out, most of the girls who attend Youth Group services on a weekly basis are not DTF. What was I going to do? Time was running out. I would pray to Jesus regularly to not take me before I knew a woman in the Biblical sense. I mean, how could he come before I did? Obviously sex was the greatest thing known to man since it was all over TV, and my pastors preached against it regularly. There was no way Jesus would cut me down before I experienced all that this world had to offer. Totally unfair.
So then the time came. I was staring at the clock. 11:55 pm, Dec. 31, 1999. There was a tense excitement in the room, or at least that's how I felt. Would all the TVs shut off at the stroke of midnight? Is the Rapture about to happen? Will I hear Gabrielle's horn over the sound of all these noisemakers? Is there still time for a hand job and should I just ask the first girl I see? I said a quick prayer that covered all the contingencies:
"Oh, Lord, you might be playing the biggest practical joke on mankind right now since the plagues, but if you're not, please don't come back for the rapture right now. I have so much more to do! I'm not even a real teenager yet! But if you do come, please take me. I'm not sure I could withstand seven years of the Anti-Christ. If Y2K happens, I'm not too worried. We have plenty of guns and canned foods and we already live back in the hills. Just give me the strength to fight to the death to save our family when the starving hordes attack. And one more thing, Lord, and I know this is a weird thing to ask, but I would really like to have sexual intercourse just once before I die."
So I guess God answered my prayers that night. Y2K and the Rapture didn't happen, and I am proud to report that I have, in fact, lost my virginity. Also lost since then: my religion!
This May 21st movement has given me the opportunity to reflect on my life and my current and past perceptions of the world. And looking back, I see all three of these events (the Rapture, losing my religion and virginity) have one thing in common: at the moment they passed, the Heavens did not open up, there were no Angelic choirs or lightning bolts, and I did not achieve a higher state of enlightenment (except when Barack Obama became president - Hillary Clinton predicted that one on the nose!) There will be no earth-shattering moments that aren't purposely or accidentally caused by humans. The May 21st-ers are going to wake up to a big surprise on May 22. But hey, mass hysteria is kind of fun and good for the gas generator manufacturers. I say, bring on 2012!