I fought the incessant pull of sleep as long as I could last Thursday night, Dec. 20, hoping to make it to midnight and witness “the end” of the world. I didn’t make it, and the world didn’t end. Go figure, on both accounts.
I toss and turn throughout most nights, and my first toss came about 1:30 a.m. on Doomsday. I raised my head to check the time and, sure enough, I still had electricity. I looked toward the sliding glass door in my bedroom expecting to see raging fires and brimstone engulfing the landscape. It was dark. So dark, in fact, I couldn’t discern the curtains from the wall from the empty darkness of night. Well, gee, maybe the world went dark as a prelude to the Grand Finale.
The next time I woke up was about 3:45. Still had electricity, still dark outside. I listened intently for the methodical drone of the War of the Worlds machines sucking helpless bystanders into the bowels of their alien bellies. Nothing. Hmmmm.
About 5:50, I was startled awake. What was it that pulled me from the depths of a dream I couldn’t recall? I blinked my eyes once, twice, three times to clear the haze from my mind. Breathe softly. Listen for whatever it was that disturbed you, I thought. Dead silence. Nothing stirring, not even a mouse. The world was still spinning right on schedule.
Should I just get up for the day, turn on television and see what havoc is consuming the Earth on this Final Day?
An hour later, my mental alarm had pulled me from the final dream of the night. I could see the hint of daylight around the curtains. No birds were chirping. Still silent. Maybe they know something I don’t. The sun was coming up, though, and that’s a good sign.
I blindly pushed the familiar button on the television remote, and a few seconds later the glare of the early morning news brightened the room.
As my eyes and ears adjusted to a new day, the news anchor told me about a drive-by shooting and a major fire in Springfield. His co-anchor updated me on the murder-suicide involving a Kansas City Chiefs player, the massacre of children in Connecticut and the deadly blizzard crawling across the country. And a car bomb in some Iraqi city. And people starving in Uganda. And, and, and...
All of that in five minutes.
Gee, I thought in a moment of cynicism, maybe there is something to this Doomsday chatter. But we will have none of that. A New Year will dawn very soon, and that signals a chance to make good on what went so wrong this year.
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