OUR CORNER: Some good advice for the end times

Did you hear? Did you hear? The end is nigh. It’s 2012, don’t you know?

Less than a year from now, on Dec. 21, the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar ends. Ends, I tell you! Only 353 more shopping days to accumulate gold or debt, depending on how you think that last day will pan out.

What does it mean? The apocalypse? A new dawn of spiritual ascension for man? That the Mayans thought they had a few spare centuries of goofing off before organizing another 5,125-year calendar?

I think we can safely rule out the world ending; if that were accurate, the date would be Nov. 6, the world promptly imploding under the weight of a collective nervous breakdown following the quadrennial B.S. Olympics.

If you think about it, the end times are a sweet caramel dream for debt-racked governments at all levels: countless accounts payable gone in one fell swoop. If Guinness were still around after curtains down, it might issue a record for Most Generous Default Agreement: all debts forgiven in exchange for the complete extinction of humanity. Take that, China! You didn’t think we’d weasel our way out of that one, did you? That’s why we’re red, white and blue, and you’re just red.

But if you do believe the end is coming, and you want to do something silly like survive it, here are some tips for preparing yourself during the coming year:

• Read Robert A. Heinlein: Because he’s put more thought into this than I have.

• Plant a Wheat Field: Or corn. Whatever. You think you’ll be able to buy bread in a store if it’s surrounded by a lake of fire? Hopefully, in the valley, there’s still room on the land south of state Route 410. What do you know, the land preservationists hit that one on the nose.

• Build a hydroponic farm: Water farming is a time-tested method of year-round agricultural production without land and in limited space. Ancient Egyptians used it; now baby boomers and college students use it (for science!). When it comes to learning how to build a small farm for yourself, the most red-eyed person you find is the most expert.

• Buy a goat: Let’s face facts. Cow’s milk is tastier. And the deeper up and into the Plateau you are, the more likely you are to be able to accommodate a big, dumb bovine. But a goat is easier to hide from your apartment manager. Plus, you might be tempted to slaughter a cow the first time you miss hamburgers.

• Build a Pip-Boy: Finally, smartphone technology has brought us the survival computer of the future, today. Load up your Android or iPhone with GPS, radio tuner and reference book apps, then attach it to a leather bracelet so it’s always with you. Wait, you know how to generate electricity, right?

• Grow potatoes, pinch pennies: You know, for batteries. Make sure you don’t eat them when they’re out of juice; just trust me on that one.

• Start your own currency: Once the howls of the damned finally shut up for a second, you might notice your neighbors the Jones’s have a pretty keen new lawnmower you fancy. They’re willing to sell, but dollars have lost their value and they keep insisting your velvet Elvis print isn’t a good trade. What to do?!

Before you give them the business end of your firewood axe (I meant to trade! Jeez. Barbarians.), have you considered starting your own currency? The trick is to give it a value backing everyone will accept in trade. Some people like gold, but do you know how much bullion will buy a box of Lucky Charms? Neither do I. Get creative. Why not ounces of potable water? If you took my advice on the wheat, you can issue paper scrip entitling the holder to a number of bushels from your next harvest. Heck, even bottle caps will be perfectly guarded against inflation, provided no one makes new soda after 2012. (Brian Beckley says bullets would be the best currency; I say he belongs on a watch list). Pretty soon you’ll be operating the Fed out of your shed!

• Make friends with the Amish: Because they’ve put more thought into this than any of us.


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