News and Tribune

December 25, 2012

BEAM: Change you can’t believe in

Local columnist

— Just in case you haven’t heard, on Friday a new Mayan era began. Some believed an ancient calendar that stopped on this date predicted the end of the world. Others thought a new age of reason and love might be ushered in Dec. 21.

So how do I ring in either doomsday or the dawn of a worldwide spiritual awareness? I fall asleep on the couch Thursday night while watching “Top Chef.”

Yet, I still haven’t found either supposed consequence of that prerecorded date. Utter destruction and chaos haven’t forced me and the family in to our underground bunker. OK, it really is only several old hot water heaters that we buried too close to our septic lines. But in a pinch, or a nuclear holocaust, it will do just fine.

Despite our preparation, the weekend ended with no plague, no fiery comets or rogue planets, and no polar magnetic shift. If anything, the closest I came to mayhem was being room mom for a gaggle of sugar-high second-graders during their winter school party.

Talk about a panic. Herding rabid raccoons would have been less stressful.

With the epic fail on the whole “end of world” scenario, I put all my hope, and my apocalyptic knowledge gained from watching a History Channel Armageddon marathon, toward the promise of an inner transformation. You’d think that Oprah alone could have brought about this type of world-changing event given the number of spiritual gurus she hosted on her show. Needless to say, that didn’t happen either.

Given the fact that I wanted to pour hot grease down the pants of an overly affectionate couple in the line at McDonald’s yesterday, I don’t think I’ve been overcome by peace as hoped by some. Of course, these friends who put faith in this transcendental experience also smell of patchouli and hemp. Perhaps their assessment of a new spiritual awakening has been hindered by their constant need to munch on any food in sight. Goodness knows chocolate can cloud my judgment. That or we all might need to take a trip to Colorado so we too can feel this airy type of enlightenment.

Likewise, my children didn’t get the memo about this greater understanding for all humankind. My three little horseman of the apocalypse — homebound for the next two weeks because of winter break — have continued to fight. Like Spanish conquistadors raiding Incan villages, they rob one another of Christmas candy, newly received toys and, most importantly, the opportunity not to need therapy when they reach adulthood. Although one could argue that I stole that last one away from them years ago when I decided to start writing this column.

So nothing changed, not one bit. Instead of preparing for Armageddon or a new dawn of man, we resumed frantically running around and buying last-minute Christmas gifts. Nothing screams holiday cheer like massive throngs of humanity descending on, of all things, a mall soap and lotion shop.

Supply pitchforks and candles and the masses could even have resembled a town mob. Even though the monster this time around is our own consumerism, not something visibly deranged like zombies or that Snooki gal from “Jersey Shore.”

With or without the walking dead making an appearance, another doomsday scare will come around sooner or later. On the near horizon, it looks like some researchers believe St. Malachy way back in the 12th century prophesied that the world would end during the reign of the 112th Pope. The current pope, Benedict the XVI, is the 111th pope if that tells you anything about the timetable of this prediction.

Will a proportion of the world go crazy when this date draws near? Judging by our past, I’d say yes. But as with every day, all we can do is live life like there’s no tomorrow.

Then, maybe just maybe, when our own personal end time comes we’ll look back at the life we lead and be content in the results, rabid raccoons and all.

— Amanda Beam is a Floyd County resident and Jeffersonville native. Contact her by email at