Corrie-Lynn Dyson Thinks You Should be More Scared About the Pending Apocalypse [Fierce Anticipation]

Apocalypse… Meh

During Hurricane Irene’s reign of terror on the East Coast, I was visiting my sister in Camden, NJ. Surprisingly, there is a really nice part of Camden and my sister’s apartment has tremendous 12-foot windows that look across the water at Philadelphia. I’ve often sat on her couch and gazed at the City of Brotherly Love. It’s very relaxing when you aren’t expecting a city-born tornado to come tearing through and send those giant windows crashing down on you and your family.

A tornado warning in Philadelphia? I was reminded of the carefree days a decade ago when I ate ice cream on the streets of NYC in October and we all laughed about global warming and the end of the world. My sister’s apartment had already been shaken by an earthquake earlier that week so I knew all bets were off. If Camden is experiencing aftershocks, what’s impossible or even improbable? If New York is evacuating, could the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse be far behind? Perhaps they are stuck in grid lock traffic because NYC had shut down their mass transit system.

The apocalypse isn’t nearly as funny when you have a kid. It’s harder to be ironic about the end of life as we know it when you’re wondering if your kid is going to need gill implants. I mean, I’m already worried about paying for college, how am I going to afford relocating to Mars? She’s only two, what has she seen of the world? Sure, she’s been on a cruise, met Elmo, hung out back stage at the Newport Folk Fest with Mavis Staples and marched through the French Quarter in a Mardi Gras parade… Actually, she’s led a pretty full life.


The actual end of the world. I think a lot of us were lulled by our triumph over the ozone layer. Remember when they said we were all going to die if we didn’t stop using so much hair spray? Those were tough times, indeed. It was hard to achieve the five inch tall bang without aerosol but many of us made the sacrifice. Look at the ozone layer now! It still has a giant hole in it but it’s not in the news any more. Problem solved!

When An Inconvenient Truth came out, I was concerned but felt reasonably certain that only so many polar bears could drown before the world started to get seriously worried. Polar bears are adorable! Sure, they can rip your face off but they have those little button eyes and don’t even get me started on baby polar bears. Who wouldn’t buy an electric car to save a baby polar bear? Like most complex and serious concepts (impeachment, socialism, the fourth amendment), the average American only had a tenuous grasp of the meaning of the term ‘global warming’.

Um, how could there be global warming when it still gets cold? Why didn’t Clinton have to leave office when he was impeached? There’s a fourth amendment?

The term ‘global warming’ was coined in 1975 so most of us grew up with the concept and yet, it’s only recently become a hot topic. I don’t think ‘global warming’ sounds scary enough. It just makes you think about longer summers and less shoveling in the winter. Perhaps if it had been introduced as the ‘Beginning of the Second Ice Age’, we’d be a bit further in our efforts to reverse the effects. I’m not talking about people who deny the existence of global warming, you have to believe in dinosaurs to be worried about sharing their fate. There are people who will always remain untouched by reason and reality. I’m wondering about the rest of us. Why aren’t we more scared?

Somewhat Anticipating

More anti-climactic ends-of-days! I loved Y2K, that little bit of irrational fear as midnight approached that just maybe something bad would happen. There we all were, celebrating the end of the millennium (a year early, unwilling to bow to calendars) with the possibility of planes falling from the sky and, even worse, all of our hard drives crashing. It was an exhilarating time, who can blame us for wanting more?

So Harold Camping was a little off with his numbers and the Rapture didn’t begin on May 21st, but don’t give up! He assures us the judgment did happen, it was just a bit quieter and less earthquake-y than he’d expected. God’s wrath will be here October 21st, which is a shame because that means no post-Halloween candy sales.

On the off chance that Camping is wrong, there’s 2012 right around the corner. There are quite a few theories going around that have the world ending in 2012; from the end of the Mayan calendar to some hazy readings of the Bible. These theories fall into the same category as the average American’s understanding of socialism, or for that matter, the word democracy. They’re based on something someone thinks they heard someone say. Most Americans have pretty easy access to real information via the internet but there are just so many porn and shoe shopping sites! No wonder Michele Bachmann couldn’t be bothered to double-check where John Wayne was born or in what state the Civil War began. I’m sure she tried to Google Lexington but then there was an Amazon link and she thought, “Wow, that is a good price…” and lost her concentration. It happens to us all. Actually, considering her recent comments on the Soviet Union, she might need to be introduced to the game Pong and the concept of cordless phones before she gets online.

Fiercely Anticipating

More opportunities to sing R.E.M.’s awesome song, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”. What a great song, especially the “Leonard Bernstein” bit! Who doesn’t love singing along with that part? The song came out in 1987, I bought it on the greatest hits album “Eponymous” in 1995 (finally got the humor of the album title about three years ago) and have never gotten tired of hearing it during each potential apocalypse. What makes it so great is that R.E.M. is such a sincere band. Every year someone cranks out a cheesy song that will be the wedding song or the graduation song of the season. There’s no such cynicism in R.E.M. They didn’t sit down and say, “Let’s write a song that’s really going to start racking up the royalties in 2000!” They just wrote a clever, catchy tune that would become the soundtrack of our troubled planet.

Right now, I’m pinning my hopes for my daughter’s future on PBS. I’m hoping that her constant exposure to the actual meaning of renew, reuse, recycle will save her from hybrid Hummers and all the other nonsense being sold as ‘green’ to assuage our generation’s half-hearted guilt about destroying our planet. Sure, California will probably be the new Atlantis and she’ll be skiing in Texas but maybe it won’t be too late. Maybe she’ll be living on an Earth replica, entirely funded by R.E.M. royalty checks. That would be kind of cool.

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featured image credit: bixentro