Well, the Apocalypse is upon us again, is it that time of the year already?
This time it’s October 15th, apparently, which will be nice because it’s my birthday.
“Happy Bir— ¡BOOM! ” Yikes. At least I suppose the fireworks will be spectacular.
It’s also a Monday, and who doesn’t secretly wish for the apocalypse when Mondays loom? We’re only human. (At least you and I and the New Zealand Prime Minister are, I’m not so sure about Barnaby Joyce. Did you see that hat??? They breed them shameless at Black Stump Primary.)*
But, it got me thinking… whatever happened to “Nigh”? Back in the olden days, when I was a mere stripling of a lad and Playboy Bunnies roamed the earth, The End was never next month on a Thursday afternoon, it was simply Nigh.
Back in the day, doleful fellas in sandwich boards used to roam the streets adjuring us to:
“Repent, for the End is Nigh.”
Compared to them, Twenty-first Centurions are bewilderingly specific about the approaching Apocalypse. Nowadays, lovely, completely undoleful fellas like David Meade feel obliged to tell us The End is going to come on the stroke of midnight December 23rd. Or before breakfast, the third Tuesday of March. Or 12.36:09:and-a-bit:pm precisely on the 27th June, 2021 (possibly because zombies) and don’t bother putting a paper bag over your head, it won’t save you from Niburu, the Greys see all. Extraordinary, their accuracy**. It raises the question of how on earth they know, but this is not a question Apocalypse-Predictors are likely to answer sensibly; I strongly advise you not to try asking. It will only end in tears.
Ah, I miss the old fellas. It was a lot easier on the nerves when The End was merely Nigh.
We had no trouble believing it, either, the End certainly felt very Nigh, in the heady, carefree days *cough* Rubbish. They totally weren’t. *cough* of the Cold War and The Bomb. None of us fully expected to live much beyond the age of—oh, say, six, so news of the Nighness of The End hardly surprised us. (The bit about the zombies did, tho, which is why I don’t like to talk about it, we Cold-Warbabies don’t much like surprises; we always think they’re going to involve a ¡BOOM!)
“Oh, yes,” we’d nod sagely when confronted with said sandwich boards. “Nigh, is it? Highly likely, what with all this carry on in the Common Market and Unmarried Mothers running about willy-nilly thinking they’re just as good as normal people, the world’s going to hell in a handbasket I tell you and now you say The End is Nigh well I for one don’t doubt it, what with this here new-fangled Daylight Saving bewildering the livestock and god knows the Labor Party ain’t what it was. Something had to give.”
I do miss the satisfying rubberiness of Nigh as a date. You could concertina Nigh in your imagination to indicate as long or as short a period as you wished. Nigh could be sometime early next week, if you had a nasty teacher/parent meeting looming, or it could be well after Christmas if you were hoping to get a Malvern Star bicycle with those dinky little streamers on the handlebars, maybe in red, and didn’t want The End to ruin that for you. And there was nary a zombie in sight, except for The Late Late Late Movie which is where they belong.
Yes, as a date, Nigh was very accommodating.
Nowadays, however, things are very different indeed (except for the bit about the Labor Party, they’re still not what they used to be). We’ve already had to live through 2012 and every year it seems we’re forced to live through it again. Those Mayans knew what they were doing when they ended the calendar, this world clearly should have finished some time ago, it increasingly feels like we’re in the fifth season of a once edgy show and the writers have run out of both ideas and perspective. I mean, a demented Cheezel as U.S. president?? Kate Middleclass as Princess of the World?? Barnaby Joyce** as an actual human being with unassailable rights to food and oxygen??? Now they’re just jumping the shark.
It’s all rather unsettling really. Back when The End was only Nigh. it was perfectly acceptable to forget all about it for a while if one was enjoying oneself, having a peak sexual experience for example, or a very nice counter-lunch. (Whilst not fretting about zombies.)
When The End was Nigh, you could take time off from thinking about
zombies it. When The End was Nigh you could at least pretend to be nonchalant about the undead the whole business. But now that it’s August 14th just after lunch it all gets just a bit more… brain-munchingly terrifying personal.
I find myself worrying about not having a Will, and then I remember The End goes for everyone so my offspring won’t care whether they get my collection of funny hats urinated on by inebriated footballers or whether their brother does. Then that thought depresses me and I wonder why I even bother to collect funny hats urinated on by inebriated footballers. It’s a sad, sorry state of affairs when one questions such harmless hobbies.
Why just last week I found myself calculating whether I could put off paying the electricity bill until after the latest date of the Apocalypse, and if so, can I use the money to get footballers inebriated or would that just be asking for trouble?
I blame the government. If they hadn’t invested so much in technology for the classrooms we wouldn’t have this rash of computer-literate eccentrics. They’d be wandering the streets in sandwich boards instead, comforting us with messages of hope. Telling us to buck up for godsake, there’s no need to stay indoors with a paper bag over your head on the evening of Wednesday 24th, because The End is merely Nigh.
Sigh. Troubling times. Predicting The End Of The World has become an exact science, legions of the re-animated roam our mental landscapes unchecked, and the Labor Party STILL ain’t what it used to be.
I miss the 20th Century.
* btw, don’t believe the Beetrooter’s carry-on about his humble state school origins. He went to Riverview.
**that is, the accuracy would be extraordinary if there was any. So far I have lived through 39 and a half predictions of the End of the World so forgive me if I’m a tad jaded. (The “half” was of course the admittance of women into the Marylebone Cricket Club. Turbulent times. It’s still standing.)