Wow! Is my face red? I’m so embarrassed. I really hadn’t planned on submitting a column this week. I didn’t think I’d have to — with the end of the world scheduled for last Saturday and all. Now, here I sit pounding the keyboard. Working on something, anything — just to meet deadline.
I’m referring to Harold Camping’s apocalyptic prediction that things as we know it would cease to exist.
Camping, an 89-year-old retired engineer and founder of Family Radio International, has been preaching that a doomsday event was in our immediate future. (I’d hazard a guess and say that if someone wanted to take issue with Camping for using the word “family” in his outlet’s name, they’d have a legitimate argument. Anyone who goes around preaching and scaring the “by Jesus” out of (or into) people — by claiming that the end of the world was at hand — would have a hard time getting an invitation to any family function that I was organizing.)
According to him, a cataclysmic event was to occur at 6 p.m. May 21, resulting in no more countries, no more cities and, unbelievably, no more Geico commercials.
If you haven’t noticed, it didn’t happen.
Predictions about Armageddon can get messy.
Keith Bauer, a Maryland truck driver and follower of Camping’s, didn’t bother going to work last week. He loaded his family into a minivan and drove the 3,000 miles to Oakland, Calif. — headquarters for Family Radio International — to await the upheaval. Apparently, he, too, thought that “California is the place you oughta be, so he loaded up his truck and ….” well ... you know the rest.
He rationalized his actions by saying, “I wouldn’t have gotten paid (for last week’s work) anyway, if the Rapture did happen.” He then added, realizing his folly, “It’s God who leads you, not Harold Camping.”
Gee, Keith, do you think? No, seriously, do you think … at all? If only this epiphany had come to him seven days earlier, he could have saved face — and a lot of money.
But as long as he’s in California, maybe he could drop in on the Disney advertisement department and offer his services.
“Hey, Keith Bauer, you just survived the Apocalypse! Now what are you going to do?”
This isn’t the first time that Camping predicted the end of the world. He also forebode a doomsday scenario in 1994. Not much stock was put into that warning. It’s my guess that since the well-publicized story of the Mayan calendar (not extending beyond 2012) came to light, a more sensitive awareness has been instilled into the public’s consciousness. People were ready to listen this time. Mindsets are much more willing to accept something when a movie has been made about it. Just look at “Ghostbusters.”
One last thing about Camping: That’s where I’m headed next weekend. Camping. (Oh, stop it — like you could have come up with something better on such short notice!) We’ll be going north to open the camp. Normally, I would have it ready by now. As a matter of fact, last year at this time it was all cleaned and set to go. But this year I thought I’d wait until after the Apocalypse.
No sense cleaning it twice — like I said, those doomsday things can get pretty messy.
And that’s the way it looks from the Valley.