The Daily Star
---- — By Cathy B. Koplen
We are seven days out — if the world were really to end on Dec. 21, what would you do?
Many people around the world have contemplated this question — some in all seriousness and others with their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks.
The Mayan Calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012, bringing to a close the 13th Bak’tun — an era of almost 400 years. This date sparks the imagination of those who contemplate what the end means and how they would react.
“If the world was ending in seven days on December 21, 2012,” said Ellie Kinch of Walton, “I would be dead-center, front row for the Rolling Stones concert on Dec. 13, in East Rutherford, N.J. Then I would go home and pray the world will continue so I can see Mick Jagger again.”
Many people responded to the Daily Star’s a query on the subject, some said they would spend time with friends and family.
“I would spend as much time with my kids, my husband and my friends as I could,” said Amy Sulas of Schenevus. “I’d like to take the kids to Disney — it’s on my bucket list. But, I don’t think the world is going to end. Some people do, but not me.”
Others made provisions for their pets.
“Should I find The World ending, I would only befriend my dog,” Kim Terpenning responded. “Love you my German Shepherd Millie. Unconditional Love Always. Simple and Complete.”
An anonymous response read, “I’d have my dog put to sleep and I’d go on the wagon for seven days and seven nights.”
Daily Star columnist Henry F. Geerken of Worcester replied to the question, “If I only had a week to live, the very first thing I would do is to go out and buy seven pair of new underwear. My mother always told me that if a date was important to me, I should have clean underwear on just in case I was in an accident and I had to go to the hospital. Heavens knows how embarrassed I would be to have ‘skid marks’ or something worse when I was on the table for all to see.
“I would buy a pair of underwear for each day of the week just in case the Mayan calendar was off by a few days. We all know how ‘off’ governmental folk are in these days of computers just figure out how far they might be off when all they had were blocks of stone instead of an ‘Apple.’
“I would pray that when my soul left my body it would be Heaven bound rather than the other place. Finally if I do get to Heaven I hope to see your smiling face waiting for me.”
What does the world coming to an end mean?
Gayane Torosyan of Oneonta takes a cosmic view.
“I would lose a bet with my mother,” Torosyan said. “But I would not be able to pay it. It is a lose-lose situation for her.
“I do not believe it. I think that people who believe the world is going to end do not understand what the end means — in a cosmic sense. It doesn’t matter if they stock pile guns, food, and water — anything. If the world ends — what makes them think their bunker would be there if the world is gone?”
For some, the question evoked a survivalist’s response. People around the world are preparing for disaster, and many believe they will survive.
Tom Bolton of Oneonta first said he would visit with family and friends if he only had seven days until the world ended — and then he remembered a particular friend.
“One of my friends is a doomsday prepper, so I would probably get to know him a little better,” Bolton said. “He has a survival kit with seeds, a shovel and water. They are food seeds, he can start a garden. I am planning to survive. I think I would make it.”
National Geographic presents a weekly documentary about families who are preparing for the end of the world. “Doomsday Preppers” is a series that interviews survivalists prepared to live through various end-of-the-world scenarios including economic collapse, terrorists, nuclear incident and natural disasters.
Many people around the world plan to survive.
In fact, tourism in Central America is expected to boom. Several travel sites offer doomsday vacation packages, many of which include tours of Mayan ruins on the 21st.
“Thinking the world is going to end because of the Mayan Calendar is like thinking your car will no longer run because the odometer is about to flip over,” said Ben Ellsworth-Feher of Oneonta.
Worldwide, religious leaders continually urge congregations to be spiritually prepared for the day when one’s life may have to be justified in the face of eternal bliss or eternal damnation. Several people responded that they would pray.
“With only seven days left for us in this world, I would assure the Good News of Jesus’ free gift of love, forgiveness and hope touches every person I meet,” said Rhonda Clune. “In the end, that’s all that matters.”
Deacon Vicky Hunter of St. James’ Episcopal Church, used the doomsday scenario as the theme of her sermon at a recent service. While she spoke about spiritual preparedness, she also reminded the congregation that Hurricane Sandy ended many people’s world.
Hunter suggested this popularly immanent date remind families to prepare for disaster.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends citizens have an emergency kit assembled that includes three days worth of food and water — including food for pets, batteries, a short-wave radio, flashlights and a whistle for signaling help. In addition, copies of medical records and other important papers should be kept with the kit in a water-proof bag.
There is a segment of the world’s population that questions the meaning of the Mayan calendar. This includes the archaeologists working to interpret the glyphs found in the Mayan ruins at La Corona, Guatemala. The initial interpretation of the tablet suggested that a god will descend at the end of the age of Bak’tun 13. However recently, University of Texas Professor David Stuart deciphered the glyphs saying the reference is more likely to that of a royal visit in 696 A.D.
On the University of Texas Website Stuart explains that the “king had only recently celebrated an important ending of 13 K’atun calendar cycle, in the year 692 (126.96.36.199.0), and in this text he is called a ‘13 K’atun lord.’ The scribe has used this important ritual fact to project forward to when the next higher period of the Maya calendar will also reach 13 — a sacred Maya number — which will come on Dec. 21, 2012 (188.8.131.52.0).”
An ‘A-list’ of pop musicians believes the date to be an auspicious one. U2, Elton John, Sting and Bruce Springsteen are among those expected to perform a “World Summit of Humanity” concert on Dec. 21 in Guatemala. Many people chattering about the event expect Dec. 21 to begin an era of harmony.
Daily Star reader Emily VanLaeys agreed.
“I have read about the Mayans and their beliefs,” VanLaeys said. “And it is my understanding that the Mayan calendar ends on December 21st of this year because that day will usher in a new era of peace. We have been living in an age when people, feeling separate from one another, have been guided by their egos to be competitive, self-centered, greedy, and violent.
“As we grow closer to the Shift of the Ages, more and more people are living from their hearts, rather than their egos. They are recognizing their oneness and becoming more cooperative, compassionate, and selfless. During the time left before the Shift takes place, I am trying to focus on love through my actions, meditation, and prayers. This focus includes relating to the people in my life with as much understanding, forgiveness, and compassion as I can. The more peace and love there is in our hearts on 12/21, the sooner we will notice the transition to the Era of Peace that the world is entering.”