If you are reading this column, I have good news for you: The world didn't end Friday. In case you missed it, a lot of folks were worried it would.
All of this is because of an old Mayan calendar. The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, created by Mayans in 3114 B.C. and carved into stone, contains entries for every single day from that time right up until Dec. 21, 2012. Then it simply stops. The Mayans may have simply run out of symbols or stone or broke their chisels at that point, or they may have been trying to give us a warnin. But as a result a whole lot of present-day folks seem convinced that we shouldn't bother ordering 2013 refills on our day planners.
I personally don't put much stock in this or Mayans in general. If Mayans truly had the ability to tell the future, they would have ended their calendar right around 1300 when the peasantry revolted and their civilization died out. The idea that prognosticating Mayans would take the time to carve a big long calendar out of stone for use by the folks who were going to conquer them seems a little perverse. If Mayans had such Nostradamus-like powers, they would have chiseled a big entry for some time in late December 1299 that said, "Pack your bags and head for the hills! Also, watch out for peasants!"
Many folks seem to think the world will end not with a big explosion but with zombies roaming the streets. There will be a few people left holed up in houses with boarded up windows, hoping the zombies out in the street don't come and eat their brains. If this does happen, I will volunteer to be one of the first zombies. The people holed up in houses are likely to spend all their time screaming at each other and worrying, while the zombies get to roam about at will, looking for their next meal. Zombies limp and lurch and look pretty dirty, but they don't seem to have to work, pay bills, walk their dogs or worry about brushing their teeth. The zombie lifestyle seems pretty laid-back.
There also seems to be a lot of people out there stockpiling supplies for the apocalypse, whether it's a zombie one or just a massive power outage that forces us to attack each other like savages. These folks have lined their basements with jugs of water, and they've got freeze-dried food stuffed away on shelves. The problem with these doomsday planners is they always have to brag about how they will ride out the coming end of the world while the rest of us will starve. They don't realize that we're actually listening, if only half listening, and we now know what to do when all the lights go off -- We'll all just run together to their house, pull the plywood off the windows and have a big meal. And if I do end up as a zombie, that's the first house I'm going to -- I'm sure I will eat their brains but wouldn't turn away jumbo cans of beans and piles of beef jerky and a jug of fresh water to wash it down.
Of course none of this matters. If the Mayans were right, and the world ends with a big explosion on Dec. 21, then all your preparations were kind of pointless, weren't they? Your 3,000 rolls of toilet paper, 800 jugs of distilled water, and case after case of energy bars are going to get blown to smithereens and will fly off into space just like bits of the Eiffel Tower and Mount Rushmore. I'm not going to plan for the apocalypse. I'm just going to wait for it to come to me and play it by ear.
If you are one of those people stocking up for the end of days, you're probably not reading this column. You get the paper, I'm sure, but you probably use it to cover your windows or roll it up for use as toilet paper when your 3,000 rolls are used up. Either way, be it a zombie apocalypse or just a regular old neighbor vs. neighbor one, soon after the big event, you should expect a banging on the plywood you've got covering your windows.
It's going to be me, and I'm going to be very, very hungry. And if you've got any brains, you'd better head for the hills.
Homemaking is a column about the people, projects and pride that make a house a home. Peter McKay, a Ben Avon resident, is a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate. To see past columns, go to www.post-gazette.com. Contact him at www.peter-mckay.com.