Editor’s Note – Of geeks and kings

The World Will Not End: I’m going out on a limb here as there are at least a dozen people nervous about the Mayan calendar prophecy-of-doom

The best thing about making bold predictions in a New Year’s edition is that, if you’re completely wrong, you don’t have to pay the price until the following year. And by then, you’ll have had a good long time to think up a good excuse or blame someone else entirely. It’s a win, win.

The World Will Not End: I know I’m going out on a limb here as there are at least a dozen people who feel nervous about the whole Mayan calendar prophecy-of-doom scenario that foretells the Great Cycle ends on Dec. 21, 2012. But let’s look at it in practical terms.

Five thousand years ago, the Mayan calendar editor, let’s call him Joey, was asked to help the King plan some upcoming events. Most likely, the King had forgotten a wedding anniversary or booked a lads’ poker night on the same day as his mother-in-law’s birthday and found that sleeping on the stone bench in the living room was tough on his back. Naturally, Joey was only too happy to help out as plotting the calendar was much easier work than dragging giant slabs of stone from the quarry to build an extension on the King’s pyramid. Plus, ever since the poker-night incident, the King was planning a new sacrificial pyramid on the other side of the mountain where he could send his in-laws in the guise of a “special treat.”

Now, there’s no denying that Joey was good at his job. A bit of a dreamer and stargazer, he had a special knack for all things celestial. In fact, he was such a math geek he noticed that because of the way Earth spins on its axis, there was a slight repositioning, or wobble, in the night sky that would be reset every 26,000 years. And because the King loved his horoscopes, Joey put this wobble in astrological terms to note that at the end of the next 26,000-year cycle, Earth would be moving from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius.

Pleased with himself, Joey set to work plotting the Mayan calendar until Earth enters the Age of Aquarius on Dec. 21, 2012. When he was done, Joey excitedly hauled all his Powerpoint stone carvings up to the throne room and presented his Ultimate Celestial Too Big For Your Fridge calendar. The King’s reaction, however, wasn’t what he was hoping for.

“What the @#$%&, Joey?” said the King. “You’ve been down in that workshop for years. I missed two more birthdays and Mother’s Day, and you give me a calendar for the next 5,000 years. What the hell were you thinking? You didn’t even carve any cute puppies or kittens in laundry baskets on the damn thing — and there’s no way I can slip one of those in my pocket or hang it in the garage. You’re fired!”

And so Joey was sent back to the quarry where he spent his days hauling stone and his nights gazing at the stars and dreaming of the Age of Aquarius.

But, just in case I’m wrong and the world does end, at least there will be nobody around to complain. M

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