This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
—T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men" (1925)
Guess what, guys? It's time to embrace the horror! Look! We've
got front-row tickets to the end of the earth!
—Rockhound (Steve Buscemi), Armageddon (1998)
THE WORLD IS GOING TO END, and there's jack shit you can do about
it, chief. Granted, some of us—by which I mean people like me,
not people like you—will survive Armageddon, Ragnarök, the
End of Days, Eschaton, whatever you want to call it. Those of us who do
will become like Mad Max in Mad Max, or like Kevin Costner in
Waterworld—we shall drive badass cars through scorching
deserts punctuated only by occasional thunderdomes, or we shall do
sweet tricks on jet skis in endless oceans and grow gills that look
like little vaginas. Either way, it's a win-win for the hardy among us,
such as myself. The rest of you will die excruciatingly, and you'll
probably be crying like a baby when you go. Please take a moment to
familiarize yourself with some of the possible ways in which you'll
The threat of total nuclear destruction was supposedly a terrifying
thing in the '50s or the '60s or whenever it was that people drove way
cooler cars than they drive today. But as Mad Men
demonstrates, people back in ye olden days were far more concerned with
suburban alienation, white-collar ennui, corporate backstabbing, and
the ethical quandary of whether it's acceptable to kill your incredibly
annoying daughter in her sleep, probably by smothering her with a
pillow after you sneak home some night after scoring some BJs from her
elementary school teacher. So when you think about it, maybe the threat
of nuclear destruction wasn't ever really that
big of a concern.
Also, just FYI, Don Draper is another guy, who, like me, will survive
the Apocalypse. Unlike you.1
METEORS & COMETS
I'm just gonna be honest: You guys should be fucking terrified
about these goddamn things.
THE RISE OF THE MACHINES
(See "Meteors & Comets," above.
RELIGIOUS-TYPE MATTERS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: RAPTURES,
FLOODS,VOLCANOES, REVELATIONS, THETANS)
If the people who flunked out of Science 101 are to be believed,
either Jesus will come back and turn our world into a Left
novel, or Suri Cruise will one day command her army of
vengeful Thetans to turn it into an L. Ron Hubbard novel. Either way,
we'll have to deal with either (A) that Kirk Cameron asshole or (B)
John Travolta eagerly putting on his Battlefield Earth
and holding court outside Mann's Chinese Theatre.
On second thought, this one might be as scary as, or even scarier
than, terminators. (See "The Rise of the Machines," above.)
Whoa there, jumpy! Blue-green lasers coming out of the sky and
exploding White Houses aside, this one isn't even worth worrying about,
so chill the fuck out already, okay? Jesus.2
Besides, I have it on good authority that Will Smith and Jeff
Goldblum have what they call "a gentlemen's agreement." Now, that's not
a gay thing (necessarily
); it just means that the second those
alien motherfuckers in their city-sized ships show up and start casting
shadows on famous landmarks, the Fresh Prince will call the Fly (or
vice versa) and they'll meet up at Area 51 to figure out how to beat
Both of these men are noble, virile, and trustworthy; as long as
they are alive, you have no reason to be worried about various
HOWEVER: This contingency plan is assuming the city-sized ships that
cast shadows on famous landmarks are Independence Day-style
ships, not V-style ships. (If they are V-style ships,
there's no need to worry either, because by all indications, those
dudes seem super nice and surprisingly generous.)
ZOMBIES, GENETICALLY ENGINEERED DINOSAURS,
ELIZA DUSHKUS, MAGNETOS,
I'm not going to sugarcoat this for you, because if you're reading
this then you're at least six or seven years old, which means you're
old enough to nut the fuck up and deal with this shit, unlike some
whiny-ass preschoolers I could mention. There is, frankly, no
to myriad apocalyptic threats facing you: 28 days from now,
zombies could gnaw out your intestines. OR: Has everyone
for me forgotten about all those dinosaurs cloned by that one old
billionaire guy in Costa Rica? OR: If Joss Whedon's Dollhouse
was any indication, Eliza Dushku has something to do with kick-starting
, so that should probably concern those three people who saw that
show. OR: Magneto's always up to no good—he's a schemer, that
one!—and it's only a matter of time until Professor X can't calm
him down anymore and the dude just loses it
and wreaks all sorts
of magnet-related crimes. AND: There are any number of other
doomsday scenarios, too, some of which involve John Cusack
), or a jarring-but-evocative lack of punctuation and
traditional sentence structure (The Road
), or talking kangaroos
), or Don Johnsons (A Boy and His Dog
, and that
one episode of Miami Vice
that guest-starred James Brown and a
12-year-old Chris Rock6
THE HIGH LIFE
Now that you know about some of the ways in which you and everyone
you know will die, you probably want to know how you can stop it. "Tell
me how to prepare for this 'Apocalypse'!" you're no doubt shouting.
"There has to be some sort of useful information here, or else why
would anyone publish this?" To your statements, I can only respond
thusly: "No" and "Blackmail."
Take what cold comfort you can from this: According to a scientific
theory I just made up to assuage the doomed masses, apocalypses are
like forest fires, or Old Navy clearance sales. They are natural
occurrences, and they are necessary to cleanse our planet. At some
point during the End of Days, yes, you will die—mayhaps you will
be ripped apart by intestine-eating zombies, or smashed by a meteor, or
perhaps, following a cataclysmic flood, you will cling desperately to a
small piece of driftwood until I discover you, helpless and alone, and
run you over with my jet ski.
But no matter! Your death will be for a greater cause! For when we
aren't busy living the high life atop the Empire State Building7, myself, Joan, Betty, and Penélope8 will occasionally think of you. We shall commemorate your death by
making sweet, sweet love long into the post-apocalyptic night;
together, we shall create a brave new world, one that would not have
been possible without your sacrifice or something.
1. Both Joan Holloway and Betty Draper will also survive the
Apocalypse, because I will protect them; together, the three of us
shall create a beatific utopia in the upper floors of the Empire State
Building, far above the barren and vicious climes of the Vast Northeast
Desert Wastes and/or the Vast Submarine Thunderdome of Atlantica.
2. Fuckin' spaz.
3. They will use a computer virus.
4. Unless the aliens target Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum's houses first
instead of going after the White House. Which they probably will,
because I have now given them the idea to do so.
5. In a super sexy way!
6. "Missing Hours" (original airdate: November 19, 1987). James Brown
plays someone who explains what it's like to be abducted by aliens.
"It's like bein' raped," he tells Crockett and Tubbs. "I... I wouldn't
recommend it." What does this have to do with the Apocalypse, you ask?
Well, if you have to ask, that might be one of the reasons I'm gonna
survive this shit and you're not.
7. Ha! High life!
8. Penélope Cruz will also be there.