I live in a culture that puts stock in anything that appears on the internet, or the world-wide-web, or whatever the chic term used to describe it is today. I also live in a country that has two basic television news philosophies: one network totally conservative, the other 10 or 12 totally liberal. No one tells the real story anymore. Everything has to have a certain spin.
I have a journalism degree and I am proud to say that I was once a card-carrying member of the media in this country (United States). I learned how to report the news from great teachers, men of courage and scruples. They taught me I couldn’t print anything unless I could verify it by two independent sources. I could use a quote by the mayor and a public record document, but I couldn’t use today’s favorite source, and I quote: “a source close to the White House said off the record.” When I hear this today or see it in print, my brain thinks: “bullshit.”
I don’t believe anything I read on the internet and I don’t even believe things I see on TV that are being shot live, or should I say being filmed live. That is why I can’t believe I fell for this Mayan Calendar end-of-the-world bullshit.
After reading about it and hearing about it for several years now, my 17-year-old daughter and I decided to venture to the Gulf coast in 30-degree weather to watch the end of the world. The reason we chose the beach is (duh) because it is full of water, at least on one side. We figured with volcanoes popping out of the ground spewing molten lava and earthquakes splitting the planet, the water would be the safest place to be.
We woke up early on December 22, and had a hearty Waffle House breakfast, because everyone knows you don’t want to watch the end of the world on an empty stomach. Then, we put on our sunscreen (which we both thought was ridiculous at the time) and sat our two beach chairs next to our ice cooler full of tasty beverages, right on the edge of the breakers, waiting for the show.
Early in the day, we noticed a giant, fiery ball which appeared to be burning a hole in the eastern sky, so I called my brother in Tampa (he is the smart one in the family) and told him there seemed to be a giant, fiery object trying to burn a hole in the eastern sky. He told me it was just the sun and not to worry unless it exploded or went black. Now we didn’t doubt my brother’s explanation, but we did double check it on the internet just to make sure, and yes, it was only the sun.
I had forgotten what the sun looked like; obviously I have been spending too much time indoors on the computer, or watching television.
When the sun didn’t explode or go black, we decided to check the television just to make sure the world hadn’t ended in some other location instead of our beach. We selected the Weather Channel, because we didn’t think we couldn’t trust Fox or CNN for news. After all, the Weather Channel has all of the disaster experts; like Storm Tracker Jim Cantore. Remember, the Weather Channel told us after hurricane Katrina that we would probably have about five or six Cat 5 (killer) hurricanes in the Gulf every year because of all the global warming (more bullshit?) and such. If I remember correctly, we went four years after Katrina without seeing a big wave in the Gulf.
The weather gurus were saying things like: “These weather patterns look like things we have never seen,” and such. It turns out there was a lot of rain across the country that day. I guess “weather patterns we have never seen” sounds a little sexier, and a lot scarier than terms like “rain.”
We continued to sit out on the beach, almost enjoying our last day on earth, until sunset. We gave up when the giant, fiery object dipped into the waters of the Gulf, and the temperature dropped into the high 30s (that is on the Fahrenheit scale, for all you European readers. For all you American readers, 30 on the Celsius scale would be rather toasty). At that point we figured the water had to have put out the fire and that the whole end-of-the-world thing was a hoax, so we went to the Captain’s Table restaurant and had some delicious sea food for dinner, including several dozen of the Gulf’s finest raw oysters, from Apalachicola.
After that hoax, I don’t understand how any self-respecting Mayan calendar maker (who didn’t have things like electricity, indoor plumbing, or the internet) could show his face in public.
Causes John Haslam Supports
I support the Constitution of the United States of America.
I support St. Jude's Hospital.
I believe in GOD.