Friday, May 20, 2011

Tomorrow may be it. But let’s see how Robert Fitzpatrick feels on Sunday.

According to some fringe religious group, Saturday (May 21st) is going to be Judgment Day. Major earthquakes are going to start in Jerusalem, and then start shucking and jiving worldwide. Damn that globalization...

I don’t quite get how it’s all going to go down, but I think the story is that the earthquakes shake things up; we then have five months of – there’s no other way to put it – hell on earth. And finally, on October 21st, everything’s kaput.

Well, that gives us a while to clean up our acts. If there are no atheists in foxholes, I’m betting there won’t be many atheists on planet earth if tomorrow actually does bring a rash o’ earthquakes. (Where do I sign up? Where did I put my mother’s rosary beads? Does the fact that I hung onto the picture of Cardinal Cushing that he gave my father count for anything?)

Personally, I’m not too worried about the endgame happening – at least not for a couple of billion years. If it does, I guess I’ll die in Ireland. Which wouldn’t be the end of the world. (Actually, it will be the end of the world….If this is the case, T.S. Eliot’s got it wrong. The world will be ending with a bang AND a whimper. But what do poets know?)

Some folks, of course, are taking this seriously.

One who’s taking it more seriously than most is Robert Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick is a retired transpo worker fromalg_doomsday_code New York City who’s supporting his old employer by placing $140K worth of ads giving his fellow New Yorkers a head’s up on what’s coming next. (Source info and picture: NY Daily News.) The $140K is Fitzpatrick’s life savings, so if the greatest earthquake ever doesn’t occur, he may be facing a personal, look-in-the-mirror-and-ask-yourself-what-you-just-did-with-your-life-savings personal day of judgment on May 22, 2011.

“I'm trying to warn people about what's coming," the 60-year-old Staten Island resident said. "People who have an understanding [of end times] have an obligation to warn everyone."

His doomsday warning has appeared on 1,000 placards on subway cars, at a cost of $90,000, and at bus shelters around the city, for $50,000 more.

There are certainly plenty of times when unswerving and unswervable belief comes in handy: Convincing yourself that the new company you’ve joined is not going to turn out to be yet another dysfunctional crazy factory. Getting on an airplane. Reposing on your deathbed. And it’s certainly laudable (I guess) that Fitzpatrick is willing to put his money where his unswervable belief is.

But I can’t help but believe (unswervingly) that this is not a good thing to do with your life savings.

Pretty much the only lives Fitzpatrick’s changing here – other than his own -  are those who got his business. That would be the printer (and the printer’s devil) – this is a good sized job; can’t tell if that’s 4-color or spot, but this wasn’t a total cheapo -  especially given the decline in printed matter; no pdf poster downloads here. A real, honest to goodness print run.

And the ad salesman for the subway and bus stop ads. I bet this made someone’s quarterly quota for him. Too bad there’s not likely to be any follow-on business (either way).

The outfit – I was going to quite uncharitably say “nutters” – who are behind the doomsday/gloomsday prognostication is something called Family Radio. Alas, they do not have a station in Massachusetts. Their only New England outlet is in Connecticut, of all places.

Family Radio is run by Harold Camping.

Using head-spinning numerological calculations, Camping has determined that the world will end on Saturday, May 21. He's used similar biblical math to pinpoint when Abraham was circumcised (2068 B.C.) and when earth was created (11,083 B.C.).

Camping has predicted the end of world once before - on Sept. 6, 1994. When the sun rose on Sept. 7, Camping admitted he might have had that one wrong.

That circumcision date sounds like it could be right, but I’ve got to go with the scientific community on the age of the earth, which is 4.5 billion years, plus or minus.

Anyway, if the earth opens up tomorrow and swallows Galway, it’s been nice bloggin’ for yez.

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