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Nina In New York: The End May Or May Not Be Nigh

A young professional's take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City. ______________________________________________________________

Bad news, everyone.

Did you know that May 21 is Judgment Day? I had no idea, but two guys on Fifth Avenue were wearing signs that said so yesterday. They seemed pretty confident, and it's so specific. I mean, you don't just pull a deadline like May 21st out of thin air. I have to imagine it came from some reliable algorithm, because otherwise that date presents a real inconvenience. For one thing, it's a Saturday, which is a bummer. Also I have family commitments and visitors coming in that weekend, and I'm really looking forward to them. So I would sincerely hope we're not being trifled with here. I would hate to change my plans for no good reason.

Apparently, this calculation comes from 89 year-old Bible scholar, Harold Camping, who is also the leader of an independent Christian ministry called Family Radio Worldwide. It has been reported that Camping already predicted the second coming back in 1994, but he forgot the carry the six and wound up waaaaaay off (after all his followers dressed in their Sunday best and gathered together with their Bibles, ready to ascend). Could happen to anybody, really. I never used to check my work on algebra problems. After that little gaffe, Camping went back to the books, recrunched the numbers, and is now mathematically certain that the end is nigh.

"Beyond the shadow of a doubt," he told the Associated Press.

His followers and several other factions of believers have been doing their best to canvas the country with billboards, postcards, posters, signs and t-shirts in an effort called "Project Caravan," spreading the "awesome news," as they call it and inviting people to "Save the Date!" It's really nice that they're so happy about it. I'm afraid there's going to be some terrible disappointment come May 22nd. My money has always been on 2012. You've got to have respect for the Mayans. According to an extremely unreliable internet search, they correctly predicted every solar eclipse we've had—to the day. I happen prefer their Doomsday scenario, since it means we all suffer (or enjoy) the same fate regardless of religious persuasion. That's sweet!

If the Camping camp is correct, the rapture will be followed by the utter destruction of the world and eternal damnation of the non-believers on October 21, 2011. I am unclear on what happens in the interim, but it's always nice when the city empties out a little during the warm weather. It's probable the the Hamptons crowd and the Heaven crowd won't have a ton of overlap, which means the subways will be nice and empty. I am having some fun with this, and I don't mean to be overly cavalier. Who knows? Maybe they're right. But either way, I really have nothing to lose. If Judgment Day is indeed May 21, I'm pretty much cooked.

I may as well enjoy myself now, because I think my Jewish mother would be quite irritated if I converted at this point. I think I'd rather take my chances.

What are your thoughts? Will May 21 bring the final judgment? And if so - what are you doing to prepare?

Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I'm always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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