Tuesday 21 November 2017

The end of the world as we know it

People have been predicting the very worst since life began -- and one of these days they'll surely be right, says Joseph O'Connor

LAST week I was in New York, always a fine place to be, and my enjoyment of it was greatly intensified when I noticed a poster on the subway saying the end of the world was coming next day "at 6pm precisely".

This would mean, if true, that I wouldn't have to pay my mortgage this month, so it would be one in the eye for those feckers in the banks. As we trundled through the tunnels of subterranean Manhattan, my thoughts grew cheery and warm. No more having to read about politicians' pensions. No more paying €2.90 an hour to park in Dublin. The obliteration of the entire universe and everything in it would be a small price for never again having to hear someone using the phrase "going forward". The end of the world, if you thought about it for a moment, wouldn't be the end of the world.

The source of all this happiness was a reverend American gentleman much given to prophecy, who had gleaned from his attentive and ongoing analysis of the Bible that Saturday, May 21, would be the "Day of Rapture". This is a concept beloved of certain born-again Christians, involving the taking-up to Heaven of 200 million believers and a subsequent six months of painful unpleasantness for everyone else here on Earth before being exported to the eternal flames of Hell. During the six months of punishment, earthly life would see many tribulations: agony, misery, violence, lust, weeping, wailing and the walking dead. Readers familiar with Dublin city centre on a Friday night would not really notice any change.

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