Street Talk: Excused due to rapture

Stupid rapture.

Corey LaFlamme

Where's Mark?

I hate to whine. But with the end of the world coming, I thought I could blow stuff off without consequence. I stopped paying bills. I told a few people to shove it (sorry about that, Mom) and did absolutely nothing by way of preparing for this week's column.

Seriously, is the world so out of control that you can't even take an 89-year-old millionaire Christian radio host at his word?

I was sure it was going to go down this time. I was sure because the whole world mocked the idea in one collected guffaw. "Oh, no!" two-thirds of you wrote in your Facebook status. "It's the rapture! I'm so scared!"

Funny people left shirts and ties scattered on their front lawns. One hilarious fellow left his pants and a pair of shoes on the floor beneath his toilet. Look, everybody! I ascended right off the can!

Your toilet joke here.

The rapture was the joke of the week. Even people who never joke about anything — those inexplicable folks who don't even think armpit noises are funny — found a way to get in on the mirth. Somebody, somewhere took the time to fill a dozen "inflatable companions" with helium and release them into the sky. Up they went, the entire population of the adult novelty store rising to their reward. Video of the glorious event hit YouTube and everybody laughed until their sides hurt.

Sheer hilarity. We are so confident about our place in the universe, we feel safe to openly ridicule dire prognostications like this one. And that, my yuck-yucking friends, is usually when bad things happen.

If life was a horror movie, Saturday would have been a bad day, indeed. The end would have come right in the middle of our rapture parties, in obeisance to every horror movie script written since the 1980s. Early evening Saturday is when the gorgeous teenage girl would have started tripping as she ran through the woods.

We're talking earthquakes, tidal waves and swarms of things that sting. The sinners among us would have watched from a world of fire as the righteous were raised up.

Which would have been cool, in its way, since the righteous apparently have to be naked to get where they're going.

But, no. Six p.m. came and 6:01 right after it. No sign of hellfire anywhere. No reward for the pious and punishment for ... well, you. Saturday was just another rapture that failed to produce. Time to update your Facebook status to impart some version of "I told you so."

But I'd be willing to bet that plenty of perfectly normal people felt a stirring of relief when the end failed to come. They wouldn't admit as much aloud — What, me worry? — and to themselves, they could pass the feeling off as imagination or possibly, acid reflux.

But who could blame a person for worrying, if only in a vague way? Because, man, doesn't it feel like we're due for something big and bad? Haven't the signs been piling up to indicate something dark and dire is coming down the cosmic turnpike? I kind of lost count, but it seems to me we're pretty darn close to 40 straight days of rain.

Even ardent nonbelievers can get spooked if their inner Magic 8-ball quivers with signs of doom. If you don't believe in the Bible, maybe you believe in the Mayans. If you don't believe in the Mayans, maybe you believe in missiles. If you're human, you came with a sense of paranoia built right in.

The problem, of course, is that too many charlatans have fooled too many people for too damn long. With every Jim Jones, David Koresh or Harold Camping that comes and goes, we become more cynical, more sneering, more confident that we and we alone control our destiny. Yet predictions of doom still have the power to captivate us. The difference being that today, we flock to the World Wide Web instead of the church, to mock instead of to repent.

But, whatever; it's over. Rapture 2011 was good for a week of chatter, a few big parties and some absolutely hysterical sight gags. But bear in mind that Rapture 2011 was also small-time. It was one old man with a million dollars and a radio station instead of a sandwich board and a street corner.

You want to see a real end-of-the-world scare? Wait until next year. Wait until the solstice of 2012, and the big, black nothing that follows, a prediction not of one old crank with liver spots but an ancient civilization whose people, in their way, were far smarter than we are.

Of course, you will scoff every second of the way, your chest puffed out, your eyes laughing. And good for you, bad ass. I wouldn't want you to change your ways for anything. I just came to explain why I told you off last week and why I can't repay the money I owe you. I've got no dough left, you see, not a single dime.

A dozen inflatable companions don't come as cheap as you might think.

Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer. You can frighten him with your end-of-the-world prediction at mlaflamme@sunjournal.com.

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Comments

Heather Costa's picture

Good writing,

I was pretty apathetic to the whole thing didn't even secretly worry. Certainly didn't make any out of the normal preparations. Can't wait for the 2012 hype and then the inevitable let down and excuses from the predictors of why they were incorrect. Perhaps we have more prophets who got their math wrong. Ho Hum. Then when there is no hype and no anticipation........

Licia Kuenning's picture

Why not a cheerful prophecy?

Gabriel found God sitting in the usual place--still looking at Maine.

"Why are you looking at it now?" he asked. Isn't everything there the way you want it?"

"Oh, it's fine," said the Most High; "but the rest of the world still isn't satisfied. ... They want an event they call a 'Rapture.' They talk about it all day long--instead of coming to Farmington where they could enjoy life. I didn't even put that word in the Bible, but nobody remembers that."

"What are they looking for, then?"

"They have this idea that a bunch of people will be snatched out of wherever they are: seats in movie theaters, jail cells, passenger seats in trains and planes, I suppose; and they especially want to be grabbed from behind the wheels of automobiles, leaving their vehicles to cause crashes--which doesn't seem very Christian to me--but their hearts are set on it." ...

"Where do they want to be snatched to?"

"They want to meet me in the air. I have no idea why, as I have nothing going in the air."

"Oh. Can't you just tell them that?"

"No--they'd never believe me. It's simpler to just go through the motions and let them meet me in the air--and then we can all go someplace where we can have more fun."

"So whom are you going to rapture?"

"Oh, everybody, of course. I wouldn't want anyone to be left out."

from Farmington! Farmington!
Licia Kuenning
299 High St. (licia@qhpress.org)

David Demotta's picture

Good article.

Good job on this Mark. I agree with you that some people like to cry wolf, and do it for the wrong reasons. Greed to be one of those reasons. But alas, we are all human and have our character defects. Watching neighbor helping neighbor, in the recent destruction. Tornados, and other storms across the world, people helping people, gives me faith in the human race and I think we will probably be around for a few more years.

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