“To the party at the end of the world 
Where the locals do that tango twirl 
I don’t care about “the Rapture”
When there’s native girls to capture
There’s a party at the end of the world…”

Jimmy Buffett, “Party at the End of the World

It’s here, friends and neighbors! 2012!!! The Year the World Ends!!! All life as we know it ceases to exist! Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes! Volcanoes! Human sacrifice! Cats and dogs sleeping together! Mass hysteria!!!

(Okay, I swiped that from Ghostbusters …. Sue me…)

Look, I already lived through this nonsense once, back in December of 1999. Amidst the never-ending onslaught of that damned Prince song over and over and over, I watched as people  I thought to be very logical and intellectual started sipping the Y2K Kool-Aid. Stockpiling canned goods in their basements, filling every container they could find with tap water, hoarding bottles of propane… I personally know one man who purchased two huge septic tanks and had them buried in his backyard, so he could convert them into one of those emergency shelter things like folks built back in the late 50’s, complete with bunk beds and an air filtration system. And he was PROUD of this shelter, lemme tell you. He had no qualms whatsoever about giving you a tour. “Over here, we have three Maxwell House cans full of gold coins, for bartering. And over here, I put a world-band radio, with the antenna connected above ground to our metal rain gutters. See, it has a crank for power, so we don’t ever have to worry about batteries running down. And here, look! I found a whole CRATE of Army-issue MRE’s, so we will have ample food supplies. We could live down here for at least four months!”

I remember looking at him, trying not to recall the time he fell off his own roof while he was hooking up a satellite dish to his television. “Bob,” I said, “you know, this whole ‘Y2K bug’ thing is not a definite thing, right? And if it is, it’s really not on the same level as, oh, the Cuban Missile Crisis, you know?”

The thing I remember most is his response to my statement. “Oh, I know,” he said, and he reached over and patted a gun rack that had five different long guns in it, and four handguns. “I know,” he sighed, patting that case, “but, hey, we can hope, can’t we?”

I think that’s what is getting to me the most with all this horse-hockey about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world. There are people that seem like they are actually looking forward to the challenge, like it was an extreme version of Survivor. Like Jeff Probst is gonna be set up with some freaky little obstacle courses and rope games and puzzle pieces, and whomever gets through those challenges gets to vote someone off the planet. The guy who managed to fall down and lose the fishing line, or the girl who keeps crying because her hometown was blown up by that volcano in South Philly that nobody had any idea existed.

Come to think of it, why exactly are we putting so much faith in the Mayan calendar all of a sudden? Half of this country cannot stand the fact that the Mexican people even live amongst us here in America. They resent the fact that our Mayan brothers and sisters of today have their own grocery stores and check-cashing places, but suddenly, the big round wheel they used as a calendar is something above reproach? We cannot afford to let them pick our fruit and vegetables, but dammit, they can predict the future like Nostra-freakin’-damus all of a sudden? You ever wonder if the whole shooting match doesn’t boil down to Montezuma pulling one hell of a mind freak on them white guys that rode into town and started looking for El Dorado? Hmmmmm….

At any rate, maybe I am a little too complacent about the possibility of the world ending in eleven months or so. To me, if it is such an inevitability, why bother worrying about it? It’s not like I have one of Richard Branson’s spaceships on standby and can hitch a ride to Ceti Alpha Five (Star Trek reference… heh heh…) to avoid the whole mess.

Personally, I’m kinda hoping Max Brooks has some credence and this whole thing will be a zombie apocalypse… me and all the other The Walking Dead/George Romero fanatics will be in hog heaven, as it were, and the “I TOLD YOU SO” parties will be a blast!

Bottom line, folks, live your life as you always do. If you’re honestly frightened that the world is coming to an end in a year, ask yourselves why you are frightened. You have regrets? Things you wanted to do that you never found time to do? Places to see that never got on the vacation agenda? Things to say to people, good or bad, that you feel the need to say?

Best answer there? Do those things. Visit those places. Say those things to those people. It’s not a hard equation. The phrase “live like you are dying” is not just a Tim McGraw song. It’s a philosophy, a mindset. Those of us who have been through some traumatic things in our lives know about it. You never put off saying or doing something, because you never know if you will have another chance. It’s an easy thing to do, postponing your feelings for someone because you just know there will be another day to say them. It’s an easy cop-out, thinking that you can do some amazing trip or visit some exotic locale another time when you have more time to waste on a “folly.”

Allow me to steal a line or two from John Lennon – “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…”

Everyone has a “bucket list,” that long page of things they want to do “one day, before I die.” If this is the year that it’s all gonna wind down and fade to black, maybe it’s time we all started crossing some things off that list. Make a point to tell that one special person how you feel and see what happens. Spend that extra dollar or two and make that trip to the Grand Canyon or Italy or the Galapagos Islands. Go skydiving, or deep sea diving, or shark spotting off the coast of South Africa. Go watch the whales migrating and see those magnificent animals up close. Smell their aroma as they break water and blow fountains into the air.

And, maybe, come December 12, 2012, you can sit back and say, “Bring it on, World. I am ready now. I did what I wanted to do, and I have no problems.” And you can smile big and relax as everyone else panics and runs amok, trying to stockpile cans of turnip greens and cases of Spam.

Then, on December 13, 2012, when everyone realizes how ridiculous all this “Mayan calendar” crap was, the rest of us can sit back and smile even bigger and say, “Wow, that was one hell of an incredible year. I saw things that I have always wanted to, done things I never had the courage to do, and told people I love and care about exactly how I feel. And I feel friggin’ GREAT. I may do this stuff every year!”

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…