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MANY PEOPLE believe the end of the world is coming very soon. But whether or not you socialize with seemingly normal people who forward you Nostradamus quotes on e-mail, there is really no down side to putting your life in order. As with Christmas, you don’t want to leave it all to the last minute. But where to start? Here are my suggestions:

Understand that some things will always be unknowable.
You will not have the answers in this lifetime to questions such as "Why was Adam Sandler such a huge success?" Or "Why did everybody love Raymond?" Or "What exactly was the big deal with Garth Brooks anyway?"

Accept that you will not accomplish all the goals you set for yourself.
For example, it is probably too late now to become "a beltway insider" or even find out what one is. Ditto for those big household projects you’ve been putting off. The end of the world is not a good time to begin refinishing your floors.

Focus on the achievable.
Stop lying to yourself. Don’t say you’re going to read "War and Peace" or that book by Stephen Hawking when you know damn well that even when facing the end of the world, all you are really going to do is fall asleep reading and re-reading page one.

Put together a realistic reading list. You can tackle a few long literary masterpieces or a stunning quantity of short popular paperbacks. Bear in mind that if the world starts up again, it will sound more impressive when you say you used the End Times to read hundreds of books. Considering the stress everyone attending the end of the world will be under, no one is going to ask you to list the books by their titles. That’s why it’s a good idea to stock up on dozens of tawdry crime novels, celebrity tell-alls, and semi-literate smut.

Stop trying to lose weight.
Go ahead and get really fat. Now. The worst thing that can happen is you will die of a heart attack or a stroke, and relatively speaking, that’s really not the end of the world. No use pondering whether chromium piccolinate really does speed up the metabolism. You probably won’t even have an appetite after the anthrax hits. Stock up on plenty of cocktail peanuts and Margarita mix—we are never going to get a definitive answer as to whether alcohol is good or bad for us, so you might as well drink to excess.

The same logic, of course, could be used as a reason to start a heroin habit. But only if you can buy such an enormous quantity from a non-Taliban source that you are sure you will not run out. The end of the world will be traumatic enough with without having to simultaneously search for a rehab center.

After the end of the world, fashion will be at a standstill. So, there is no time like the present to begin cultivating the look you would like to have for the Apocalypse. Think practical: Platform shoes, transparent fabrics or anything by Prada are not good Armageddon choices. Instead, plan on a colorful layered look that will not only boost your spirits but hold up under a variety of wacky weather conditions.

Remember, ladies, it’s finally okay to have sex without thought of commitment since a commitment can’t really be long term anymore. But choose your indiscriminate liaisons wisely. If there’s not much time left, then it makes sense to only have sex with people who know what they are doing. Focus on commitment-phobic sociopathic types who have been working this angle for years: Musicians are still a good bet, but you may find that Congressmen, prisoners out on parole and show business executives will be even more in demand than usual.

As we approach the end of the world, it becomes officially okay to abandon certain antiquated behaviors. For instance, forget about:
• rewinding Blockbuster films
• wiping the backs of shelves
• watching MTV video round-ups to stay current
• knowing the names of the newest Survivors
• keeping an eye on the gardeners
• maintaining Christmas card list
• staying up-to-date on insurance payments
• saving those fucking New York Times Book Reviews

Also: FIRE THE SHRINK. Confront your weirdest obsessions. For instance, have you always wondered what it would feel like to pound your fist in to the center of a chocolate mousse cake?

Maybe I’ve said too much.

More topical humor:
Comedy Under Siege

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