FRIDAY THE TWENTY-FIRST
by Mattie Lennon
So next Friday is Armageddon! This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.
At least part of our galaxy is going to disappear into a black hole (without any assistance from Anglo Irish Bank.)
This is not the first major prediction in recent times.
My late father found out somewhere that we were promised two thousand years with “a tilly in” not to mention a midland’s farmer I met in the late nineties. I gave him a lift to a match in Dublin, and apart from his endeavours to dispel my naïveté of the wiles of the female; he frightened the life out of me with some lesser-known Biblical revelations which he claimed would have particular relevance in the year 2000. According to him it wasn’t just computers that would be doomed at the millennium. (I nearly picked p a couple of on-the-spot fines in my haste to deposit him in the Metropolis- or somewhere – as quickly as possible).
That well-heeled film actor, Jean Claude Van Dame, learned that the end of the world was at hand some years ago, through a nuclear holocaust…..but only for Europe and America. So he bought thousands of acres of land in Australia. There he was going to keep a male and a female of every species he could find. He planned on rounding up animals two-by-two. But why didn’t he pick Asia or Africa? I mean, would you put, say, your sheep in Australia, knowing the pedigree of the inhabitants? I’d be the first to admit that futurists have been frighteningly accurate, at times, down the centuries. I wouldn’t be one to nit-pick and labour on the fact the nobody predicted the tribunals,Twitter that politicians would be caught taking back-handers or that we would own the Banks.
Since some predictions have been about as accurate as D’Unbelievables’ weather forecast, what about historical accuracy if, as Friedrich Von Schlegel claimed, “a historian is a prophet in reverse”?
Yet, the future has been foretold with amazing exactitude, since the beginning of time. Who could argue with T.S. Eliot’s assertion that “time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future and time future contained in time past”.
Nostradamus had many accurate predictions under his belt, including the manner of the death of Henry II of France. And even the most severe critics of Jean Dixon would have to give her some credit.
While I don’t intend buying any green bananas before Friday my trepidation is tempered by a stubborn if cagey skepticism. It dates back to my first long-trousers.
Let me explain. When, I was growing up it was normal for boys to wear short-trousers up to the age of fourteen. In 1959, my aunt in Coleraine who had a son a couple of years my senior sent me my first hand-me-down long trousers, which had to be consigned to mothballs until my 14th birthday. Since I had ultra-conservative parents, the tradition was honoured to the full. I had to serve the full sentence, with no remission for good behavior. By the time I was thirteen and a half, I began to see something incongruous about my bear knees and certain “manly” pastimes.
Now, in the late fifties an article appeared in a Catholic newspaper – was it the Standard or The Irish Catholic? – informing the Faithful of the imminent termination of the planet.
We didn’t manage to get our hands on the paper at home, but several
well-meaning neighbours, enlightened relatives and acquaintances met a fairs and Devotions, relayed the good tidings, piece-meal, to us; THERE WOULD BE THREE DARK DAYS IN 1960. Black pigs would walk the earth. The smell of brimstone would be stifling.
And no family would be together when this calamity would occur.
(I interpreted this latter as meaning that in the case of each family, unit,the father would be at the turf Rick, the mother would be in the cow-house and each of the offspring would be out playing a solitary game in a different part of the Inch).
1960 came and went. I attained the age of fourteen (and I haven’t used camphor balls since). I got my first bike. There were no dark days, in Kylebeg anyway. (Well not in the sense that we were deprived of diurnal illumination).
There was no smell worse than cow dung and rotten spuds evident, and there hasn’t been a dark member of the Porcine species seen in the area since the days of the Yorkshire pigs. So, seers past and present, I’ve heard what you have to say about flooding and disaster. I’m less spiritual but just as doubting as Thomas. So if you were to predict that; David Norris was getting married, Shane McGowan would visit the dentist, Michael-Healy Rae would be next Taoiseach or Wicklow would win the 2013 all Ireland Final I would treat it with a healthy skepticism. Wouldn’t you, if you had spent in initial years of your teens worrying that you were going to die in short trousers?