Billboards like this one [above] ended up predicting the truth, as the world ended on Saturday.
In a bit of a shock, the world ended Saturday, fulfilling the prophecy - but "shocking the shit" out - of 89-year old Harold Camping, the former civil-engineer-turned-multi-million-dollar-doomsdayer. "Frankly, I thought it was horseshit," admitted Camping. "You didn't really think I believed any of this?!"
Alas, Camping's prophecy was true after all. The first clue was the sudden death of former wrestler Randy "Macho Man" Savage on Friday. This was foretold in the Bible, when - in the Gospel According to John - the Bible predicted, "And in the day before the coming of the great Apocalypse, a large, macho man with hair plugs will up and dyeth on the floor of his gym."
That news was soon overshadowed by [and, in hindsight, was further confirmation of the end] the Middle East peace between Israel and, "every country that hates her", announced by visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Of course, soon an even bigger story took over the news cycle. "Well, tickle my ass with a feather!" said an irritated Netanyahu when he was informed that the world had ended. "I didn't even get laid [on this trip to Washington]," he said dejectedly.
But Bibi was not the only political figure angered by the end of days. An irritated President Obama said disgustedly, "Naturally! First black man in office and the world ends mid-way through my first term. Typical."
The end of the world also means a number of mysteries will be left unknown - at least unless the Lord comes to His senses and recreates the world. For one, the winner of American Idol will remain a mystery for the remainder of days. The NBA champion, Stanley Cup champion, winner of the Preakness, and the experiment of Ashton Kutcher replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men will all remain unknown. Indeed, even the actual date on which Sheen fatally overdoses will forever remain a mystery.
One person thrilled with the news was former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Thank you, Jesus!" said the smiling former body-builder. Smoking one of his trademark cigars, and with a co-ed on each knee, Arnold smiled as he said, "At least this knocks me off the front page of the paper."
On the positive side, terrorism, pollution, nuclear holocaust and Oprah's new show on her stupid OWN network also got wiped out with the end of the world. Indeed, some theorized that God chose May 21, 2011 to end the world specifically to prevent Oprah from airing her last show. "The first clue to the end of the world, in fact, was the rise of Oprah Winfrey's career," theorized Professor Smedley Lump, who was the chair of the Religious Studies department at Harvard University before the end of the world. "That a large, hideous, ostentatious, self-centered, prima donna could become America's sweetheart should have been our first warning."
While most of us - including the guy who promoted the idea - were shocked that the world really did end, some lunatics were prepared. Some shut themselves inside to pray for mercy. Others met for tearful last lunches with their children, and prepared to leave behind homes and pets as they were swept up to heaven. Naturally, it was heaven. None of these morons contemplated that they might be sent to hell.
And so it was across the globe, as followers of the California preacher's long-publicized message that Judgment Day would arrive Saturday turned to the Bible, the book they believed - accurately, it turns out - predicted Earth's destruction on May 21, 2011. Camping had been promoting his doomsday message far and wide via broadcasts and web sites through his multi-million-dollar 'nonprofit ministry', which was based on his apocalyptic prediction.
And Camping was successful in scaring the shit out of millions, albeit - it turns out - for good reason. After spending months traveling the country to put up Judgment Day billboards and hand out Bible tracts, Camping follower Michael Garcia spent Friday evening with his family at home in Alameda, California, near the Christian media empire's Oakland headquarters.
Prior to the world ending, Garcia hit the nail on the head, saying he believed Camping's prediction that the end would start as it became 6 p.m. in the world's various time zones. "We know the end will begin in New Zealand and will follow the sun and roll on from there," said Garcia, a 39-year-old father of six before the end of days. "That's why God raised up all the technology and the satellites so everyone can see it happen at the same time." As for why it would begin in New Zealand, Garcia echoed Camping's frequent response to the same question, "God hates New Zealand."
Of course, now that the world is over, Camping's radio stations, TV channels, satellite broadcasts and website are irrelevant. Many thought the same thing about Camping himself when, in 1994, his prediction of the world ending did not occur. At the time, he told Larry King that he blamed it on a 'mathematical error,'. "I'm fucking horrible at math," said the then-72-year old lunatic.
Perhaps the most upset about the end of the world really happening were those who thought it was a joke and guaranteed themselves a one-way ticket to the fiery pits of Hell by mocking the event. They attended 'Rapture'-themed parties to celebrate what they mistakenly expected would be the failure of the world to come to an end. Bars and restaurants from Melbourne, Australia to the Florida Keys advertised bashes. While in Oakland, atheists gathering at a local Masonic temple dealt with the end even-handedly, saying "How much different can Hell be from Oakland, anyway?".
Camping was not entirely right, however, because Camping and his followers believed that 200 million people would survive. There were no survivors left on Earth, however, by the end of the day on May 21st. Still, since Camping preached that those left behind would end up dying in earthquakes, plagues, and other calamities until Earth was consumed by a fireball on October 21, 2011, anyway, the point is kind of moot.
So, as we say goodbye, I'm reminded of that great episode of All in the Family, when Archie is locked in the basement, drunk off a bottle of Polish vodka he's downed. He talks to God and calls out asking Him to save him. Just then, a furnace repairman coming to the house to fix the furnace hears Archie's cries and tells him he's coming. Expecting that he is about to meet the Lord, Archie gets down on his knees and says, "Well, this is it Lord!" He looks up to see a six-foot-five tall black man in overalls. To which Archie - after recovering from the shock - says, "Forgive me Lord!" He then says, "Jeez. The Jeffersons was right."
In this case, the ranting octogenarian was right. Forgive me Lord.
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