I'm sitting out back, working on my second cup of coffee on a glorious Saturday morning, reading the typically dull Saturday columns in the Washington Post, WPFW vamping happily in the background, enjoying the late springtime breezes and completely at peace with the world.
And then I realize.
I shouldn't be here!
Oh. Maybe that's why I'm still here. Or there. Or whatever.
Come to think of it, the forecast is for a gradual warming trend over the next few months punctuated by several weeks of agonizing DC tropical haze. Could I be among those that have been left behind?
Deficit Reduction - I don't have much confidence that our elected officials in Congress will agree on a resolution to our looming debt problem. What better way to rake some dollars into the Federal till than to get everybody agitated into a prophetic, apocalyptic lather? And we all know that Americans will not tolerate a tax increase that is called a tax increase, so call it something family friendly like a tithe or a donation. And add in a little dose of evangelical self-help pablum by telling all the donors that their contributions will immunize them from this new threat. Instant fiscal responsibility.
The Tax Collector
Fun - The rapture phenomenon is good for fun-lovers everywhere. And I don't just mean seekers of base forms of fun. I'm talking about those among us that also enjoy the lighter things like carnivals, beaches, boardwalks, and lakes. So often our fun is ruined by people who would draw us down into their self-righteous blend of religiopsychobabble. Why not rid the world of this pestilence by dangling the sparkling bauble of rapture before them, luring them to impoverishment and neutralizing them as an annoyance?
If you're baffled by my frame of mind, then you've been blissfully unaware of the recent hype about May 21. The last day. Foretold. Earthquakes, hurricanes, global catastrophes galore. The day of rapture. That's all folks.
Some whacky preacher, Harold Camper, has concluded that God is fed up with us once and for all. The quaint, touchy-feely notion of "grace" has played itself out. Grace had its chance - for something like 7,000 years - after which God will just come on down in flowing robes and great white beard with enough vengeance and wrath to make the harshest verses from Jeremiah whither. After all, even Oprah's leaving, so what could be left for grace? Some of us will be found worthy. Others will be found slightly shy of ready, having wasted our opportunity for redemption on worldly pursuits and other naughty stuff. The happy talk in the New Testament will be replaced with the cold light of Old Testament judgment.
There's a small problem with date-certain events, though, particularly those with such high stakes. The day will certainly come to pass, and the prophet will end up having to climb down from very lofty heights.
As it has. And so far nuttin. And the sun, which shone in all its brilliance earlier, has set. And Paster Camper has a lot of rungs below him.
Naturally Paster Camper is at the root of some personal evil here. Surely you've heard how tightly the gates of heaven are shut to those of us that have accumulated even a modest collection of worldly goods. Like an 11 year old Volvo ornamented with assorted dents and dings from nearly a year of city life. Or a collection of worn suits. Or a 15 year old hi-fi that still works passibly good. You're well advised to shed your skin of these frivolous burdens and turn them over to Paster Camper, who will be happy to take them off your bent back to help you meet Saint Peter with head held high and a Get Into Heaven Free card.
Sadly, enough rubes took the guy seriously to raise the grim prospect of masses of newly penniless idiots roaming in hordes now that the big day has past and left most of us to face another day of being and nothingness. Unfortunately, for those hoping to be raptured into a higher state of existence, this new being will truly be carried out with nothing.
I'm starting to think that only one person is going to get the benefit of a good, brisk rapture today, and that is Paster Camper himself. Has anybody seen this guy's face today? I predict he's been raptured to a beachfront villa on the Cayman Islands, which everybody knows is God's favorite vacation spot. The happy Paster has found his own version of heaven on earth, surrounded by the worldly goods that he was kind enough to relieve our suckers of.
But narrative defies even the most rudimentary principles of logic. I wonder if there might be other explanations for the rapture effect.