Columns » Bob Lancaster

Don't worry. Be happy.



Oh, yeah, the big crash is coming. And don't doubt when we go down, insufferably vain species that we are, we'll take the creation with us. The last ding dong of doom clangs and fades, and the great dark descends. Civilization's hopes and detritus sucked into the Hawking black so profound that not even light can escape from it. And no, no lizard will crawl up out of it a billion years hence to launch the Darwinian redux. The crash kills time, so there won't be no nuther billion years.

"Fairly soon," Krugman predicts. But the wheels already in motion, and too late to turn back. The economists and climatologists agree. All over but the posturing. The greenhouse melts the caps and slow roasts us like pigs with apples in our mouths. And ensuing — if there were an ensuing — el grande nada. Eternal starless night.

It might not start and finish in a flash. It might come like the tsunami, like a thief in the night. On little cat feet, and we might not feel its full force here until soon after the crazies take over finally in November. Which they'll do, of course. In your name. With your consent and hollaback huzzah. Then quickly. The whole shebang here unwrecked one moment then gone as the wild goose in winter, and it's if it had never been, a dream unremembered, no surviving flash drive preserving highlights for some curious future Roger Nobody's smarmy review. No puny, inexhaustible voice to sing, fatuously, We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when.

Oracles speak in riddles, so when I consulted the Domino Guru and asked what to do, how to prepare, what the hell, why — asked how an old Goober Corner boy's supposed to cope with the imminent end of all things, with oblivion gathering like nimbus bison on the horizon — the words that he told me were those in the headline above.

Don't worry. Be happy.

I didn't need riddles. I needed answers. I needed a game plan. I needed an exit strategy. I needed a Galactica ticket. I needed a tire tool. If I were Pat Robertson I could smartphone God and see what he recommended. If I were Oral Roberts' boy, I'd try to sober up long enough to lay healing hands on Gaia. But I'm more of the Jonah disposition, hanging back, unsure I want to know even what I already know and can't escape knowing.

But the guru wouldn't elaborate.

Don't worry, he said. Be happy.

"You mean that's it?" I said, and he gave me that gesture that's part shrug and part meh, like, "What to you want from me?"

And I was left to mull it and puzzle over it. Don't worry, be happy.

It's like the pilot leaping aboard the stewardess as the plane's going down and no parachutes and no hope. Going coming. But not exactly like that. You can keep your dignity right up to the Sopranos cutoff. Comfort others as best you can. You can not worry and be happy because there's nothing to be gained by stewing over it, brooding,

doing all that woeing and ai-ai-ai-ing like all those weird unhappy winged critters in Revelation.

Be happy to keep from being sad. Be happy to keep from being scared. Listing some reasons to be happy will make it easier. OK then —

Be happy knowing it's them that are crazy, not you.

Be happy that you got to live before they ran out of ideas. (That happened the day they were writing the script for the "Happy Days" episode in which Fonzie jumps the shark.)

Be happy that global warming will henceforth and ever after be moot. All the issues will go moot. Abortion will go from preoccupation to moot. Mr. Justice Thomas' pubes, which have mooted steadily toward the abyss of true moot for 25 years now, will moot on over into the void. Where everything was before, there'll be only moot. Moot as far as the eye can see, if there were an eye left not to see it with. The underwear bombers of Yemen, the yodeling veterinarians of the Alps — moot. The ominous turmoil in Syria moots in the sense of ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Be happy there'll be no further need for the Heimlich Maneuver.

Be happy that your ass never talked to you, as Baalam's did.

Be happy remembering when the iceman cameth. (On Fridays. His name was Hugh Moore.) And remembering the Gopher Squat when he addressed a golf ball. And Tucker's moody grass story. And Win at Wynne.

Be happy for having made up the considerable distance between a yam-sized upland shrew gnawing Junebugs while contemplating destiny to Jerry Jones oiled and rowdy autographing a barmaid's aureole with a Sharpie.

Be happy that while there's still time they're fixing to round up the trolls, brand the letter T into their foreheads, and cut off their tails.

Be happy for poor old Harold Camping that he'll have the one blinding flash of realization that was right but nobody left to brag to.

Be happy for the deer.

Be happy that the reckoning will give no consideration whatever to the question of whether you have to acquit if the glove don't fit.

Be happy that you didn't have to be John Edwards.

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