Planning for the Apocalypse Now

April 15, 2009

Durer's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Definitely a favorite of mine.

Durer's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Definitely a favorite of mine.

Like most cautious folks, I have a tendency to pre-plan; call it a chronic fear of the unexpected. Generally speaking, this means checking the weather before I go out for a bike ride or ordering movie tickets online to guarantee a seat for myself. And more often than not, I prepare talking points for social interactions, which might surprise those of you who assumed that this wit and charm was a natural god given talent. It is safe to say that spontaneity is not my strong suit.

In many ways, this so-called devotion to readiness explains my obsession with the apocalypse (the end of the civilization) and the post-apocalypse (the world itself following culmination of civilization).

The truth is, I spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about the end of civilization. This is not to suggest that I am looking forward to it. For the most part, I like the current state of civilization. I can’t imagine another world where you would never have to pay a $523.23 fine to the public library and still get to check out an unlimited amount of books.

But like I said, I am pre-planner and have a tendency to prepare for the worst. I don’t want to end up in some underground hell-hole with a tuna fish void are killed and I forget to pack an adequate supply of BumbleBee beforehand.

Despite these worries, I don’t actually spend my free time imagining doomsday scenarios. That’s just not my style because I don’t really have a hyper-imaginative mindset. I didn’t spend my childhood creating fictitious worlds and alternative universes.

Instead of coming up with such situations, I just turn to the experts. If a movie, book, song, graphic novel, painting, or even a vaudeville show has anything to do with the apocalypse or post-apocalypse, I am game.

For good reason, whenever I approach a work within the apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic genre, I take copious mental notes. In some cases the genre has produced notable works of pop art and subversive social commentaries, but  I also tend to see such works as precautionary tales that provide darn good practical advice for survival. Here are some examples of what I am talking about:

Watchmen – Be nice to any hyper-intelligent, Alexander-The-Great-obsessed meglomaniac.

The Road – Keep on telling myself I am a good guy. (I can do that!)

Apocalypse Now – Some will say this movie doesn’t count but I beg to differ. Regardless, dodge that draft.

The Day After – You know what? I am okay if I don’t make it through this one.

28 Days Later /Any George Romero Flick – Practice long distance running.

Book of Revelations – Start believing in Jesus. Immediately.

The possibility exists that the end of world is going to look nothing like we expect it to,
and the hundreds of books and movies are completely off. Or that matter, the world
(hopefully) will not end at all. In either case, I probably should have spent more time
pre-planning conversation-points for potentially awkward social interactions.

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One Response to “Planning for the Apocalypse Now”

  1. Nikki Says:

    The Category this post is under is spot-on.

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