Let's talk about the end of the world.
Hello? Where'd you go?
Hmmm. Conversation killer?
Well, that bit of conversational kryptonite is a mainstay of modern American art and entertainment.
I've been thinking about it since I read The Road. That book is a real stunner, and if it doesn't make you tear up, you need to get your heart checked out. If you aren't familiar, it's about a father and son making their way across the charred ruins of America.
Cheery, huh? Well, it's not the only example.
It's everywhere: The Mad Max movies. The Terminator movies. The Matrix. Pretty much any piece of anime. Any movie starring Charlton Heston movie from the late 60's or early 70s. Or any Kevin Costner movie that no one went to see. There are tons and tons more. We're OBSESSED with this stuff.
Why we, as a society, think about this stuff is a discussion for another day. Blame the cold war if you will. Blame the millennarians. Blame Stanley Kubrick.
I'm not as interested in apocalypse as a cultural obsession as I am in finding out if that cultural obsession filters down to the everyday person.
When I was a kid, I'd lay in bed and strain my ears, listening for the trumpets signaling the end of the world. That's probably because the church my family went to at the time was OBSESSED with it. It'd be a part of most sermons and a subject of discussion in Sunday School well down to the elementary school level.
To this day, I sometimes wonder what I'd do if society completely crumbled. Make my way down south? Head for the Canadian border? Would I drive? What would Armageddon do to gas prices? Would I still be able to pay at the pump, or would I have to barter 2 chickens and a bag of feed for a gallon of premium? Hopefully pay at the pump. Chickens would ruin my leather interior.
When I start wondering about this stuff, my inclination is to ask: "Is this normal?" "Do other people worry about this junk?"
The truth is, I don't really WORRY about it, either. I'd be a liar if I said I didn't think about it, though.
Am I alone on that one? Am I the only one who lets the doom-n-gloomers creep into my subconscious?