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Barnes Storming: Apocalypse now ... no ... wait ... NOW

 article about Barnes Storming: Apocalypse now ... no ... wait ... NOW
2006-06-09 07:25:02

The first Tuesday of
the month would have been a perfect day for the world to come to an
abrupt end. I wouldn't have complained one bit either. At least where I
live the weather was great for outside activities like watching the sky
open up to a fantastic fire and brimstone display, compliments of God.





Yes, I did say that,
but not because I'm a nonbeliever. I believe in many things, such as
the evils of diet soda and sugar free gum, and that Paris Hilton's
reality-television disaster, The Simple Life, should never have made it past the pilot phase. If there are sinners on the planet, it's the executives at Fox.





But if people feel
the need to claim I have no faith, then that's okay. I'll take the
moral high ground and refrain from pointing out they have bad breath or
wear stupid looking shoes to work.





The end of the world, though? I can't hold my tongue about that.





So imagine my
tongue's delight last week when the Associated Press ran a piece
(insert "of pure crap") on the possibility of heavenly rapture because
Tuesday, June 6, marked the sixth day of the sixth month in the year
2006. That's right, 6-6-6. Obviously, someone with the AP thought this
news so important he or she rushed to print it before a more
prestigious publication – say, the Weekly World News or National
Inquirer – could get the scoop. That or they figured the office would
be closed the next day and an editor wouldn't get to fire them.





Now I enjoy mass
hysteria just as much as the next guy, but fearing the end of days is
kind of like worrying about the freshness of a Twinkie. As a bachelor,
Twinkies are my staple food. They're cheap, give you a wonderful sugar
high when washed down with a glass of Coke, and, more importantly, have
a shelf life twice as long as weapons-grade plutonium. I'll be fossil
fuel by the time the "use by" date on the package approaches. If
history has taught me anything, it's that stale Twinkies and the
apocalypse are two things I'll never have to experience.





Cream-filled snacks
and all jokes aside, I'm concerned with how much exposure these three
little numbers received. Along with the AP, my local newspaper ran an
article about the significance of 666 on its front page. Both stories
describe people's fears that the Biblical prediction of a revelation
would become reality just because the calendar date matched one
scripture verse.



Seriously, folks,
does God seem like the kind of deity who would need a calendar to
coordinate such an event? And if so, which type would He use, one with
pictures of puppies and kittens or the one featuring models from the
2006 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition?





Get mad at me if you
want. You can even hold your Bible in front of you to ward off my evil
spirit. All I ask is that we use a little common sense here. When was
the last time someone said, "This is what God is going to do" and it
happened? Okay, Jesus doesn't count. He had insider information, kind
of like Martha Stewart.





I can't begin to
count all the times I was in a checkout line at the grocery store –
buying more Twinkies, of course – and happened across a tabloid
headline proclaiming Nostradamus' prognostications were on target THIS
TIME, only to have to get up the next morning and go to work. The way I
see it, if an old French guy with a crystal ball can't get me a day
off, then why should I believe a piece of paper with numbers in little
square boxes. A calendar helps me remember Father's Day and that I
should suck up to my boss around October 16. Beyond that, I'm on my own.





Then there's this:
Three sixes refers to the emergence of the antichrist, not the actual
end of our time, and even that is debatable. Since I began keeping
track in 1980, the planet has survived Ronald Reagan becoming an
American president, Michael Jackson in a music video with Paul
McCartney, The Rosie O'Donnell Show and Whoopi Goldberg on Hollywood Squares. Just recently, Taylor Hicks won American Idol. That's five dangerous people and the Bible says there are only four horsemen of the Apocalypse. I think we're all safe.





I probably should
give people a break about this whole apocalypse issue, though. The
afterlife is a big deal to religious types, especially the breakdown of
who's going to Heaven and who's just out of luck. If where we end up
once the lights go out for good wasn't that important, I guess so many
churchgoers wouldn't bang on my front door most Saturday mornings or
leave pamphlets in my mailbox telling me God doesn't want me getting
sunburned in Hell. They're just doing what they feel is right, what
they feel the Lord wants them to do.





However, my patience
runs short when those same believers start telling everyone to prepare
themselves for the final showdown between God and Satan. This sounds a
little too much like Chicken Little with a Billy Graham axe to grind.
"The sky is falling, get on your knees and repent! My desk calendar
with the photos of America's most beautiful lighthouses told me so!"





Put that way it's not
hard to hear just how ridiculous all this noise about June 6 sounded.
Add that to the fact that today is June 15 and I bet you can't help but
feel a bit foolish if you spent $500 on bottled water and canned food
last week because you wanted to be prepared.





Don't worry, though. I bought a calendar yesterday and found out there's a full moon on July 11. Anything could happen then.





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